Google Glass technology developed by San Francisco- and New York-based startup Wearable Intelligence (WI) has been deployed in the emergency department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston after a successful pilot.

In an April 9 entry in his "Life As A Healthcare CIO" blog, BIDMC CIO John Halamka, M.D., wrote the hospital had been piloting the technology for four months.

"After several months of testing, we have deployed the product to clinical providers in the ED and are completing the first IRB approved study (to our knowledge) of the technology’s impact on clinical medicine," Halamka wrote.

"I believe that wearable tech enables providers to deliver better clinical care by supporting them with contextually-relevant data and decision support wisdom," he also said.

Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display that shows information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format.

He recited an instance where an ED physician was called to treat a patient who was suffering from a massive brain bleed: Because he was wearing the Wearable Intelligence technology, he was able to discern the patient’s allergy information and current medication regimen without having to log into a computer, and was also able to see that the patient was also on blood thinners that needed to be reversed immediately. The physician told Halamka the user experience with the WI technology is "fundamentally different" from that of tablets and smartphones, that it is always on and ready, and has profoundly streamlined workflows that involve information gathering.

According to Halamka, the technology has been fully integrated with the ED dashboard. In addition, he wrote, WI designed a custom user interface to take advantage of the Glass’ unique features such as gestures (single tap, double tap, one- and two-finger swipes, etc.), scrolling by looking up/down, camera to use QR codes, and voice commands. Information displays also needed to be simplified and re-organized. BIDMC also implemented real-time voice dictation of pages to staff members to facilitate communication among clinicians.

Chase Feiger, director of business development for WI, said the company, which is also piloting Glass technology in the energy industry, was the first to receive funding from the Glass Collective, an investment syndicate including Google Ventures and tech funding luminaries Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Health Data Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access