My mother always demanded her GP to turn the screen away from him/her and look at my Mum when they consulted. Google’s glasses seem to be able to address her concerns, without reducing the efficiency of the GP consultation. I suspect GPs are dubious and the overstretched majority will reject even attempting to work with a camera next to their eyes..
It’s a familiar scenario: you go to see your GP but they spend more time looking at their computer than at you. Now a futuristic solution could mean more than one pair of eyes looking at you in the consulting room.
Doctors complain that they need to start typing while their patient is still talking, because consultations last only ten minutes and the next patient is waiting.
The electronic systems favoured by NHS bodies are inefficient, they say, making it harder to have a real, human interaction with the person seeking their advice. Patients too, complain, feeling they are not being listened to.
Doctors in the United States have started wearing Google Glass, the computer built into spectacle frames with cameras, while examining patients to get round the problem.
The consultation is watched in “real time” by a medical scribe working remotely — often in India or Bangladesh — using a platform developed by Augmedix. They type up the notes for the doctor to later amend or approve.
The glasses can also display information from a patient’s notes.
Google Glass was launched in 2013 as a consumer device but failed to take off and production stopped in 2015.
Google has now quietly reinvented it for business use. Glass Enterprise Edition has longer battery life and is said to be more comfortable. Ian Shakil, the chief executive and co-founder of Augmedix, told Wired magazine that the new use was the polar opposite of Glass’s original launch.
He said: “When you hear the word Glass, you think dehumanisation, social disruption. We’re the opposite — being close to the patient; being able to put your hand on his or her shoulder to comfort them.”
Davin Lundquist, chief medical officer at Dignity Health, uses Augmedix when he sees patients. He said that it had cut the time spent typing up notes from 33 per cent of the day to 10 per cent and that interaction with patients had risen from 35 to 70 per cent.
In an interview with Popular Science Mr Shakil said that 98 per cent of patients consented to the use of Glass, and the device displayed a green light when it was recording and could switch to audio-only mode.
As well as doctors’ consulting rooms, the technology is being used on factory production lines.
NHS doctors and nurses do not yet use the devices. The technology is not completely alien to the UK, however. Queen Mary University of London’s medical school started using Google Glass in 2014. Its surgeons wore the devices as they removed cancerous tissue from the liver and bowel of a 78-year-old man in a teaching session watched live by 13,000 people around the world.