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Google Glass gets an extremely useful use case

Hospitals seem like a no-brainer for Google Glass.

The one market in which Google Glass is universally expected to have a major impact is healthcare. At Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it’s already paying dividends.

Dr. John Halamka, the hospital’s CIO, wrote a blog post this week detailing its Glass testing. A report at Ars Technica goes into greater detail, having viewed Dr. Halamka's post before it was edited to remove the bit explaining how it works.

Here’s how it works.

When a clinician walks into an emergency department room, he or she looks at [a] bar code (a QR or Quick Response code) placed on the wall. Google Glass immediately recognizes the room and then the ED Dashboard sends information about the patient in that room to the glasses, appearing in the clinician’s field of vision. The clinician can speak with the patient, examine the patient, and perform procedures while seeing problems, vital signs, lab results and other data.

So in this use case, Glass is replacing not only the paperwork associated with each patient, but also the process of storing, finding, and matching the appropriate medical records with each patient. By automatically identifying the patient at hand by scanning the QR code for the room where he or she was assigned, the staff on hand saves time dealing with the paperwork and reduces the chance for filing errors.

Although Dr. Halamka said no patients have expressed concern about Glass when their doctors enter the exam room wearing them, he made it clear that strict security standards were put in place.

"We replaced all the Google components on the devices so that no data travels over Google servers. All data stays within the BIDMC firewall," Dr. Halamka wrote in the original blog post, according to Ars Technica.

The beta test period involves four emergency physicians, who have used Glass since mid-December, as well as "impromptu testing with at least 10 other staff members," aimed at generating feedback, that began in mid-January, Dr. Halamka said. The hospital is planning to expand the project to all interested physicians soon.

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