Hospital tests Google glasses with Dermatology patients (US)

Rhode Island Hospital is the first in the United States to use Google Glass in an emergency department. During a six-month study, researchers will examine the effectiveness of the wearable streaming audio/video device during consultations with consenting patients requiring a dermatologist.

A research team led by Paul Porter, M.D., attending physician in the emergency departments at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Hasbro Children’s hospitals, all in Providence, R.I., worked with healthcare communications company Pristine to modify the device and ensure that the way Google Glass is used will conform to patient privacy laws. The modifications include stripping several core functions, including the ability to connect to the Internet and the ability to store audio or video data. The device will stream in real-time directly to the receiver, in this case a dermatologist who will review the images and video on a tablet or similar device.

“Rhode Island Hospital is the first in the country to use a HIPAA-compliant version of Google Glass in the emergency department, which will allow us to provide patients with real-time consults with on-call dermatologists,” Dr. Porter tells Dermatology Times. “We’re starting with dermatology due to both the visual nature and the lower risk factor, but we see this technology having far-reaching implications. Ultimately, we believe that it will help to improve patient care and access to specialists, reduce the need for follow-up visits, lower readmission rates and lower costs.”

Google Glass is a wearable eyepiece — similar to glasses without lenses — fitted with various audio/visual and computing capabilities. It is currently in the testing stage and not yet widely available to the general public.

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