ER doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have been using Google Glass as way of quickly pulling up data on patients, monitoring vital signs, and more while examining patients in the emergency department. Dr. John Halamka from the medical center described the system in a blog post today (via Ars Technica):
In the Emergency Department, we’ve developed a prototype of a new information system using Google Glass, a high tech pair of glasses that includes a video camera, video screen, speaker, microphone, touch pad, and motion sensor.
Here’s how it works.
When a clinician walks into an emergency department room, he or she looks at [a] bar code (a QR or Quick Response code) placed on the wall. Google Glass immediately recognizes the room and then the ED Dashboard sends information about the patient in that room to the glasses, appearing in the clinician’s field of vision. The clinician can speak with the patient, examine the patient, and perform procedures while seeing problems, vital signs, lab results and other data.
The medical center developed custom software for glass that it says ensures the privacy and security of patient data and replaces “all the Google components on the devices so that no data travels over Google servers.” Dr. Halamka notes that he doesn’t see Glass as a replacement for iPads or desktop computers but rather as an additional tool that can provide doctors with data while they simultaneously provide care to a patient.
Another staff member at the medical center, Dr. Steve Horng, described how Glass improves his ability to treat patients in an emergency environment:
For example, I was paged emergently to one of our resuscitation bays to take care of a patient who was having a massive brain bleed. One of the management priorities for brain bleeds is to quickly control blood pressure to slow down progression of the bleed. All he could tell us was that he had severe allergic reactions to blood pressure medications, but couldn’t remember their names, but that it was all in the computer. Unfortunately, this scenario is not unusual. Patients in extremis are often overwhelmed and unable to provide information as they normally would. We must often assess and mitigate life threats before having fully reviewed a patient’s previous history. Google glass enabled me to view this patient’s allergy information and current medication regimen without having to excuse myself to login to a computer, or even loose eye contact. It turned out that he was also on blood thinners that needed to be emergently reversed. By having this information readily available at the bedside, we were able to quickly start both antihypertensive therapy and reversal medications for his blood thinners, treatments that if delayed could lead to permanent disability and even death. I believe the ability to access and confirm clinical information at the bedside is one of the strongest features of Google Glass. “
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center plans to roll out to Glass to all doctors in the emergency department over the next couple of weeks after completing a successful beta test of the system.