COVID-19 is driving extreme change in society and healthcare, with the pandemic forcing hospitals to innovate. One of those ways involves a Google partnership where Nest Cams are installed in areas where those with coronavirus reside to help “more efficiently care for patients and preserve PPE.”

A blog post from Mount Sinai’s head of clinical innovation today describes how hospitals are looking for ways to “give caregivers the ability to check on and communicate with patients that could supplement in-person checks” Working with Google, the organization turned to Nest Cams.

For the last several months, our team has been put to the test and faced unforeseen challenges and heartbreak. The rapidly moving situation was made even more dire because of the rising number of critical patients, the government mandate to ramp up bed capacity and the need to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE).

The two primary goals are to help “health care workers more efficiently care for patients,” with remote monitoring allowing doctors and nurses to assist people more badly in need. It also preserves PPE that would otherwise need to put on before interacting with a coronavirus patient.

This solution involves installing two Nest Cams in over a hundred patient rooms starting this week. The first is used to monitor and communicate with patients, while the second is pointed towards equipment tracking vitals. Live feeds go to a “purpose built console” that look to feature three vertical screens running a Nest website.

Video from the cameras will be livestreamed to a purpose built console located in Mount Sinai nurse stations (Google will not store this footage or have access to it). This purpose-built console was designed to aid health care workers; it allows for monitoring patients, tracking vitals and talking with the patients.

Mount Sinai notes that this coronavirus partnership with Google came together over the last “several weeks,” with Nest Cams adhering to “current regulatory guidelines, HIPAA and other legal and regulatory requirements.”

Google is providing 10,000 Nest Cams — the exact model is not specified — and the monitoring console to hospitals across the country. It has an open call and email address for interested hospital administrators wanting to implement a similar solution: healthcare-inquiries@google.com. Technical requirements include WPA2 Wi-Fi networks, G Suite, and “powerful monitoring stations” that support multiple camera live feeds.

These principles have been central to our work with hospitals during the COVID-19 health crisis, where, in a series of limited trials, our camera products and purpose-built healthcare worker consoles are being utilized to help healthcare providers observe patients more effectively and safely.

Nest has been rumored to be interested in leveraging its smart home technology for healthcare. Back in 2018, a report described how a suite of cameras and sensors could be used to monitor the elderly.

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