R.I. Hospital Launches First Real-Time ED Study of Google Glass

March 10, 2014 in News

Under a six-month feasibility study launched Friday, Rhode Island Hospital’s emergency department became the first in the U.S. to test Google Glass technology’s ability to transmit real-time images to remote medical specialists, the Providence Journal reports.

Background

Google Glass is a pair of eyeglasses that are equipped with smartphone components and a small, transparent screen on the right lens that allows the user through voice command to:

  • Access GPS;
  • Link to the Internet; and
  • Send live audio and visual images of what the user is seeing.

For the study, a team of three physicians at Rhode Island Hospital worked with a Texas-based startup company called Pristine. In 2013, Pristine developed the only form of Google Glass that meets federal patient privacy laws.

To reduce patient privacy risks , Pristine’s version of Google Glass can only provide live encrypted video and audio files, cannot link to the Internet and cannot store any video or audio files. The hospital purchased two pairs of the glasses, at $2,400 each.

Study Details

For the study, the physicians will use Pristine’s version of Google Glass to treat ED patients with dermatological issues over the next six months. Doctors will be able to use the device to send images of the skin condition to a consulting specialist, who can use a small tablet to see and hear what the wearer sees and hears and to speak to a patient directly.

Study Goals

Paul Porter, a physician at Rhode Island Hospital and project coordinator of the study, said that the researchers selected dermatology for their study because patient care would not be compromised if the Google Glass video or audio feeds cut out.

Porter said that the technology could help improve medical care and also reduce the number of medical visits, since patients can see specialists immediately, rather than having to schedule up follow-up visits.

Porter said that if the project is successful, Google Glass could eventually be used to help first responders. For example, a first responder could share images of a stroke patient, allowing a physician to remotely assess and prescribe immediate care (Mooney, Providence Journal, 3/7).

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