Using Google Glass In Patient-Facing Healthcare Scenarios

Google Glass is finally being explicitly positioned for enterprise usage -- a concession to the great interest found in many vertical industries (and also among developers who sell to those industries) for using Glass to attract, retain, and serve customers. We'd predicted this trend and have been helping clients in a variety of contexts to design their own enterprise wearables strategies.

For the healthcare vertical, SAP posted a video that has been little seen -- but which deserves more attention -- that helps illustrate some of the detailed usage cases for Google Glass in a hospital context. SAP's HANA platform (about which you can read more via my colleagues Andrew Bartels and Paul Hammerman here or Noel Yuhanna here) empowers a nurse to complete all the tasks in her rounds:

As you can see from the video, the nurse uses features of Glass -- including the camera, real-time videoconference, QR code scanning, real-time alerts, etc. -- to help her during a variety of Mobile Moments:

  • Engage in identity verification. She confirms the identity of colleagues, patients, medicine types, and medicine dosage during the course of her rounds.
  • Receive real-time corrections. She receives alerts when these verifications go wrong -- for example, an alert that the wrong dosage has been assigned.
  • Collaborate via telemedicine. When a patient's wound worsens, she is able to consult with a doctor in real-time -- at her moment of need and in context.
  • Determine progress. Throughout her rounds, she's able to see which patients she has visited and which ones remain on the schedule.
  • Log all events. At the end of her rounds, all events that transpired are logged into the electronic medical records (EMR) system.

I like this video because it shows how, in the age of the customer, patient-facing technology solutions can improve the quality and speed of healthcare. It also highlights the incredibly important role that back-end software and predictive analytics play in designing wearable computing solutions. In this case, integration into EMR systems is completely critical to making Google Glass a useful patient-facing technology.

I've written several reports that go deeper into the enterprise opportunities for wearables like Google Glass, including Google Makes Glass Visible To The Enterprise and The Enterprise Wearables Journey. I invite you to read and download these reports, and to discuss your own experiences with wearables in healthcare and other verticals in the comments. I also invite you to check out the work of my talented colleague Skip Snow, whose deep expertise in the healthcare vertical deserves your attention if you liked this post. We are collaborating on some new research about wearables in the healthcare vertical for patient-facing usage scenarios, and then with my colleague Michele Pelino on wearables, the Internet of Things, and healthcare companies.

J. P. Gownder is a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving Infrastructure & Operations Professionals. Follow him on Twitter at @jgownder

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