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Beth Israel Doctors Using Google Glass In ER

BOSTON (CBS) --- Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are the first in the country to be using Google Glass technology to save valuable seconds.

Google introduced the Glass technology in 2013 and only a limited number of people have been able to try it. Beth Israel Deaconess is the first hospital in the world to use the high-tech classes for direct patient care.

Dr. Steven Horng is an emergency room physician who spearheaded a program to bring the technology to the ER.

What they do is project an image of the patient's screens so information about the patient is obtained right away. Information like the patient's name, their past medical history, even X-rays can all come up with Google Glass and could be life-saving, especially if a patient can't communicate or doesn't know their allergies and medications.

But instead of having to leave a patient's bedside to check the computer, the doctor has all the information he needs on a tiny screen in his peripheral vision.

"So I can keep eye contact with the patient, we can keep talking, I don't have to interrupt the conversation and I can access that information," he says.

What makes it different from other types of wearable technology is that you can be completely hands-free. Not only does it free up doctor's hands but also allows them to use voice commands to page a nurse or take dictation.

"I can say, 'Page nurse,' and say, 'Nurse, can you get me some more sedation, thanks!' And it will page them automatically all through voice commands and voice dictation," says Dr. Horng.

Ashley Aluko came to the ER after developing shortness of breath while running. She says the glasses aren't frightening.

"They're not scary. Just a little weird and confusing," she says.

Dr. Horng says patients in general don't seem bothered.

"No one's asked me not to use them, no one's objected. If anything it attracts the attention of other staff around and other people want to try them," he said.

Right now the hospital owns four of the glasses and at $1,500 a pop they're only being used in the ER. They are building applications for nurses and techs and hope to expand it to the rest of the hospital sometime soon. They took great lengths to make sure they protect patient confidentiality.



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