Complex Medical Technology: Strategies for Selection, Education and Competency Assessment, and Adoption

AACN Adv Crit Care. Spring 2019;30(1):48-59. doi: 10.4037/aacnacc2019957.


The prevalence of complex technology in the health care arena has increased dramatically in the 21st century. Nurses working in acute and critical care have the greatest interaction with technology, using it to manage patients and optimize clinical outcomes as well as to prevent errors and adverse events. The successful implementation of complex medical technology is, in itself, a complex process. The purpose of this article is to provide nurse leaders and clinical nurses with an overview of key steps in product selection, associated risk assessment, and establishing a business case for technology. We review an educational and competency assessment framework based on adult learning principles and discuss strategies for successful technology adoption. An example of evaluation of a program using the New World Kirkpatrick Model is included, along with a tool for clinicians to use that summarizes the selection and implementation process.

Keywords: competency assessment; complex technology; program evaluation; technology adoption; technology selection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Biomedical Technology / standards*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Equipment Design / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Health Personnel / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged