Emergency room doctor Steven Horng, who recently launched a Google Glass pilot program at Beth Israel Deaconess, was using the device one night in January when he realised its true potential, playing a key role in saving a patient’s life.
His account was shared on GeekDoctor, a blog run by
Beth Israel Deaconess Chief Information Officer Dr. John D. Halamka. Here’s an excerpt [emphasis ours]:
… 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 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 lose 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.
As Horng explained to The Boston Globe, having access to crucial patient information at will is a game-changer.
“Rather than having to excuse myself, it means I can quickly access that information without having to interrupt the patient, lose eye contact, or even leave the room,” Horng told the Globe.
The Beth Israel Deaconess Glass trial was done in partnership with a San Francisco startup called Wearable Intelligence, which modified the Glasses to work with the hospital’s electronic database. The glasses only work on the hospital’s WiFI network and use a special application to ensure that patient data stays securely in their system.
The hospital now places Quick Response (QR) codes on the doorways to patients’ rooms, from which a doctor wearing Glass can instantaneously get access to a patient’s information.
Starting this week, Beth Israel Deaconess will expand the use of Google Glass to its entire emergency medicine department. When ER doctors begin their shift, they will be required to don the device, in addition to their scrubs.
Wearable Intelligence released a short film yesterday detailing how doctors and hospitals can use Google Glass (and their modifications) to help patients. Here’s a preview of what they envision soon becoming the norm:
Emergency medical services personnel have immediate access to patient history and medication information.
Youtube/Screenshot By Harrison Jacobs
That information, as well as EMS’s preliminary report, can be sent to the attending doctor before the patient arrives. The doctor can then monitor the patient’s vitals and advise EMS.
The attending doctor can bring in specialists via teleconference and receive immediate consultations to make quicker treatment decisions.
Here’s the full video:
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