Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston is using Google Glass in the ER. OK, cool. Cool? Cool.

Imagine you find yourself in the ER for something not-so-great (like a fall). Now imagine your doctor rolls up wearing Google Glass, which isn’t mainstream in the least yet. Would you be freaked out? You might be, or if you were too out of it to be, your family might be. Well, in Boston, MA it could theoretically happen, because BIDMC is using Google Glass in limited capacity in the ER. Check this out:

When the hospital’s Glass trial began, BIDMC placed giant QR codes by the entrace of every emergency department patient room (see picture below). The Glasses run modified versions of BIDMC’s in-house emergency department dashboard software and are used primarily to scan the QR codes on the wall; once the code is scanned, the dashboard software brings up patient records, test results, vital data, and other information. Instead of this information being displayed in a notebook, a laptop, or a tablet like at most other hospitals, the data streams into Glass; the idea is that the clinician is able to maintain eye contact with the patient during the entire consultation. “It looks weird, but it’s better than staring at a tablet or a laptop,” CTO John Halamka told Fast Company. Every time a patient is moved out of a room, the QR code is refreshed so it brings up information for the next patient.

It seems weird, sure, but the idea of Facebook or Amazon seemed weird at a point in the not-so-distant past, and those are relatively regular elements of life right now for many people. Lest you worry about privacy a great deal, BIDMC set it up so that the actual Google components of the Glass wearables were removed; hence, no data from the patients’ QR codes can be sent to Google’s servers. It all stays within an internal firewall.

Rhode Island Hospital is rolling out a similar program:

There’s more on the idea here, but basically, think of it like this: health care in America (and other parts of the world) is messed up and often rushed and not data-driven and can seem archaic (I’m not even talking about cost yet, per se). Some aspect of technology needs to come along and essentially save it, be that IBM and Watson or Google Glass or Larry Page’s anonymous data dreams. If we could get a clearer, economies-of-scale-and-technology-incorporated picture of caring for the ill in this country/the world, that would be a big step. Be fearful of Glass all you want, but there could be something there.

Ted Bauer

One Comment

  1. Hello sir,
    Thank you for your nice posting. the idea of Facebook or Amazon seemed weird at a point in the not-so-distant past, and those are relatively regular elements of life right now for many people.

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