Focus on Technology
2:05 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Google Glass is a hit at the hospital

Outside patient rooms at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center there's a Quick Response (QR) code on the wall. It is key to a new way doctors are doing things there.

The Boston, Massachusetts hospital is using Google Glass in the emergency department. Dr. John Halamka, chief information officer, set it up. "The idea that you could wear a computer and walk into a patient's room, not have to touch anything, and have all the information in front of you is very helpful." Halamka also noticed patients like it when doctors look at them.

The advantages:

  • infection control
  • real-time information
  • patient-centric
  • weighs next to nothing
  • batteries last a whole shift

Before the doctor walks into the room he or she looks at a QR code on the wall. Google Glass then picks up the information about the patient  including triage notes, medical problems, medications and the doctor sees it. Dr. Halamka explains it here. He tried out Google Glass and came up with five healthcare applications which he details in his blog.

Because security is a concern, Beth Israel engineered its software so that no data stays on the glasses themselves. Halamka says, "Think of it as a secure web application accessing our hospital's web application." As soon as the doctor takes off the glasses the data is gone.

A full roll-out of Google Glass is underway in the emergency department. Halamka expects more doctors in this hospital and others to start using it.