Use of theory to guide development and application of sensor technologies in Nursing

Nurs Outlook. 2020 Nov-Dec;68(6):698-710. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2020.04.007. Epub 2020 Jul 1.


Sensor technologies for health care, research, and consumers have expanded and evolved rapidly. Many technologies developed in commercial or engineering spaces, lack theoretical grounding and scientific evidence to support their need, safety, and efficacy. Theory is a mechanism for synthesizing and guiding knowledge generation for the discipline of nursing, including the design, implementation, and evaluation of sensors and related technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. In this paper, three nurse scientists summarize their presentations at the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science 2019 Advanced Methods Conference on Expanding Science of Sensor Technology in Research discussing the theoretical underpinnings of sensor technologies development and use in nursing research and practice. Multiple theories with diverse epistemological roots guide decision-making about whether or not to apply sensors to a given use; development of, components of, and mechanisms by which sensor technologies are expected to work; and possible outcomes.

Keywords: Sensor technologies; Theory guided decision-making in sensor technologies; Theory guided technology development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Inventions / trends*
  • Nursing Research / instrumentation*
  • Nursing Research / methods*
  • Nursing Research / trends*
  • Nursing Theory*