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Doctors testing Google Glass to get real-time patient data

Emergency room clinicians at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston try out the wearable eyeglasses as a way to speak with and examine patients while simultaneously reading their charts.

A doctor uses Google Glass at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. John Halamka

While the general public appears to still be making up its mind about Google Glass and the idea of wearing a face computer, in some fields of work the wearable could be a helpful asset.

One such field is medicine. By using Glass, doctors won't have to use their hands to dig through files, search computers, or look up facts on a tablet. With a simple nod of the head or blink of the eye, they could get all of the real-time information they need without having to leave a patient.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston has been testing Google Glass with four of its emergency room doctors for the past three months, according to a blog post by the center's chief information officer, Dr. John Halamka. The center found that the wearable has proven helpful with getting summarized real-time information to the doctors.

"We believe the ability to access and confirm clinical information at the bedside is one of the strongest features of Google Glass," Halamka wrote. "I believe wearable computing will replace tablet-based computing for many clinicians who need their hands free and instant access to information."

Using Glass, the doctors have been able to access the medical center's internal Web-based emergency room dashboard while ensuring that all patient data stayed securely within the center's firewall. This means the clinicians were able to speak with and examine patients at the same time they saw the data from the dashboard.

As far as patient's reactions to Google Glass, Halamka wrote that no one expressed concern about the device.

"Boston is home to many techies and a few patients asked detailed questions about the technology," he wrote. "The bright orange pair of Glass we have been testing is as subtle as a neon hunter's vest, so it was hard to miss."

Halamka said that the medical center will continue to test Glass with more of its doctors.

[Via Ars Technica]