The last time I blogged about Google Glass (“Glass”) was when it was being marketed mostly to consumers. Since then, and even before, people have been exploring business applications for Glass. So what does Glass offer a business? It offers a hands-free option to access, or even to create data, in real time through audio commands in the form of a wearable technology. A number of startups have sprung up specifically to incorporate Glass into business and one application is for doctors.
One company, Remedy, uses a software called Beam that enables a specialist to virtually visit a patient through the eyes of a doctor onsite using Glass. The benefit is that patients can see specialists faster and information is shared between the referring physician and the specialist. Additionally, Beam is used to transmit relevant case file information to the specialist for a speedy diagnosis. The founders have said that their app is useful for situations where visual information is needed, but is not currently available, such as with making an Autism diagnosis. I must admit, I feel a bit dubious about this application for Glass mostly because I think a lot of other factors are involved in making a diagnosis, such as smells, touch, sounds, etc.
Another company, Augmedix, offers doctors a hands-free way to interact with patients by using Glass to look stuff up or take notes instead of using a computer. I wasn’t able to find a lot of information on how it works behind the scenes, but apparently by using Glass and the Augmedix software, an audio/visual recording is captured of the doctor-patient transaction and somehow gets incorporated into the electronic health record system. Glass can also be used to access pertinent information during the appointment.
In order to use Glass in a medical setting it has to be modified to work within the confines of the hospitals firewalls to eliminate the risk of patient information being leaked out on the internet. Also, patient records require a high level of security and privacy.
Other benefits of using Glass in a medical setting include providing better training to students, accessing information in a hands-free way (e.g. during surgery), and offering low cost alternatives for video conferencing. I have yet to see a doctor using Glass, but reading about the benefits perhaps it is something we will get used to in more professional settings.