Study to explore efficacy of real-time consults using streaming mobile technology
Rhode Island Hospital is bringing Google Glass into the emergency department. Using a stripped-down version of the wearable
mobile video communications technology, researchers will test the efficacy of using Google Glass for real-time audio-visual consults for consented patients
who require a dermatology consultation. Rhode Island Hospital is the first hospital in the U.S. to use Google Glass in an emergency department setting.
Paul Porter, MD, a physician in the Rhode Island Hospital department of emergency medicine, explains a feasibility study using a stripped-down, HIPAA-compliant version of Google Glass to provide patients with an audio-visual dermatological consultation in real time.
“We live in a world of instant gratification, and in many ways, we’re testing that mindset by using Google Glass to enhance telemedicine in the emergency
department,” said principal investigator Paul Porter, M.D., a physician in the emergency departments of Rhode Island, Hasbro Children’s and The Miriam
hospitals. “In this study, we will use Google Glass to stream live images of a patient’s dermatological condition to the consulting dermatologist. As the
emergency medicine physician observes the patient’s skin condition, the consulting dermatologist will be able to see identical images on a tablet in real
time, giving the dermatologist the ability to offer appropriate advice, diagnosis and treatment options.”
Porter and researchers Peter Chai, M.D., and Roger Wu, M.D., worked with experts at Pristine, a health care technology
communications company, which has developed the only form of Google Glass that meets strict federal patient privacy laws (Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act, or HIPAA).
“While the initial study is limited to emergency department patients who require a dermatology consult, we recognize that the opportunities for Google
Glass in a medical setting are very broad,” Porter said. “Ultimately, the use of this technology could result in better coordinated care, faster
interventions, better outcomes, fewer follow-up office visits, fewer readmissions, and lower costs – for a wide range of disciplines, not just dermatology.
“We also envision this technology eventually being used by first responders and nursing homes as a tool to communicate with emergency medicine physicians,”
The six-month feasibility study will be limited to patients in the Rhode Island Hospital emergency department who require a dermatology consult, and who
consent to taking part in the study.
For more information, check out this video interview with principal investigator Paul Porter, M.D., who discusses
the importance of this study, and what it could mean for the future of medicine.