Google Glass and Patient Engagement – Is This a Match Made in Heaven?

Google Glass in Patient EngagementBeing a medical professional, Glass Explorer and the co-founder of a healthcare data company, when a new technology is launched I immediately think…  How can we use this to improve healthcare? How can we use the data and the information the technology enables to better connect the healthcare community?

The launch of Google Glass had myself – and many other healthcare professionals – asking just these questions. It’s been exciting to watch the uptake of Glass in the medical space. Despite the privacy concerns people are exploring ways to use the technology to improve healthcare.

I’m a true believer in the value of patient engagement and have participated in research asking healthcare professionals and health consumers to share their feedback on the current state of patient engagement. The findings have been eye opening and I think point to the need for significant change in the way healthcare is provided. Technology will certainly play a role in these changes, as will digital natives who can easily envision a tech enabled future.

Industry work in the patient engagement space naturally lead me to wonder how Google Glass could be used as a tool to enhance engagement. As I thought about the feedback shared by the Millennials and Gen Xers, I put together a list of ways I could see Glass enhancing patient engagement.

-Glass providing a take home video record for new information and procedures learned during the patient’s office visit

During office visits patients are frequently given a great deal of information in a short period of time. It can be challenging to remember everything that was discussed and be able to duplicate what was learned when back home and doing things for themselves.

Why not use Glass to record the learning segments of the office visit. This can provide patients with a video recording to watch when needed and ensure they can duplicate the dressing change, dosing schedule or follow the post op instructions provided by their healthcare team.

I recently read an article that highlights the need for educational follow-up tools like a Glass recording: Fundamental Facts About Patient Education.

-Glass and Google+ Hangouts used for virtual office visits, check in sessions and progress updates

Our research with Millennials and Gen Xers told us loud and clear that these health consumers are looking for an alternative to the standard office visit. They want fast and easy online options to get questions answered, discuss lab and test results and reorder medications. They made it very clear that phone calls and office visits were not solutions that met their needs.

You can read more from these health consumers at: Do Gen Xers and Millennials hold the key to success for the Affordable Care Act?

-Glass as a diary tool for health related activities

Want to really understand how everyday activities impact your health? Write them down, use a diary and track your activity. Using Glass as a tool to quickly and easily record blood sugars, food intake, weight, wound healing progress, events during a cardiac incident or any health related metric can be an important tool in managing – and improving – patient outcomes.

Face time with the patient’s healthcare team is limited; understanding what’s happening while the patient is off living their life can be key to managing chronic diseases and achieving health goals. Using Glass as a very simple, minimal effort way to track health related activities can provide a wealth of information to be used in managing a patient’s health.

Tracking How Much Food We Eat Can Be a Challenge offers interesting insights on the challenges of tracking health information and tools scientists are exploring to solve the problem. Let’s add Glass to the list of tools.

-Glass as a reminder tool to reinforce desired health behaviors

People forget things, patients forget things; the best plans can veer off course. How can health care professionals support patient adherence to treatment plans? Stay in touch and schedule reminders. Glass is a perfect answer. We already mentioned Google+ Hangouts, now add reminders via Glass. Alert the patient when medications should be taken, blood press checked, to fit in their daily exercise or any variety of needed health messages designed to drive desired health behaviors.

Using reminders and alerts is not new to healthcare and there seems to be a growing body of evidence supporting this approach. The recent article Cell-Phone Program Improves Diabetes Outcomes, Saves Costs highlights the benefits of reminder programs.

Certainly some of these things could be accomplished with other devices but what I like about the Glass option is the ‘only there when needed’ aspect of the technology. When used correctly, Glass is there in the background, waiting to be needed and activated. When I think about how we make engagement efforts work, I think of being available when the patient needs support. Glass can be a good fit for engagement efforts, allowing the patient’s healthcare team to be there and ready to offer support – at the right times.

What do you think of Glass as a patient engagement tool? For the moment let’s put HIPAA issues and cost aside and simply think of the technology and what it could do to facilitate patient engagement and improve health outcomes.

Real time information is the value of Glass

As I was getting set to join the community of Glass Explorers I found myself wondering how I’d put Glass to work in my everyday life. Would I wear it all the time, were there apps available, how were other people using Glass? Working in healthcare and being the co-founder of a company focused on incorporating real time data into daily business decisions I was more than ready to begin exploring the possibilities – in and out of healthcare.

In the days leading up to my rendezvous with Google Glass I started searching the Glass communities to see what others had to say. I wasn’t surprised to find an extremely active, helpful and enthusiastic group of Explorers ready to share their knowledge and ideas. I’ve started keeping a list of ‘use ideas’ for Glass and thought as a starting point on my journey I’d share a few of the more intriguing ideas.

Use ideas for Google Glass and some other cool stuff

1.  Melissa McCormick from Software Advice immediately caught my attention with here thoughts on Will Google Glass Change the Face of Medicine?. I can see real application for everything she suggests.

2.  Glass is definitely about the user experience, What Leap Motion and Google Glass Mean For Future User Experience by Tommy Walker paints a realistic picture of the impact Glass could have on our daily lives.

3.  Again thinking healthcare, CPRGlass, The augmented reality APP that can help you save a LIFE, looks at Glass in medicine. This is simple, clever and will be lifesaving.

4.  Keeping with the healthcare theme (what can I say I’m a nurse), OK Glass: Let’s Save a Life, links the CPR app with defibrillator information. Very smart!

5.  To see actual simulations of Glass used in the healthcare setting look no further than the Center for Total Health July Technology Focus: Google Glass and Future Health LIVE. The Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health has run two great tech sessions focused on Glass in healthcare, both are archived on YouTube.

6.  Being an animal lover I found Google Glass technology has gone to the dogs… literally and figuratively really interesting and something I would love to support.

7.  For a different perspective, Google Glass Helping the Handicapped by Brian Gunderson highlights the everyday aspect of using Glass and the connectivity it can foster with other people.

8.  I’m ready to start using Glass Genie today! This all-in-one app puts several everyday activities at your fingertips via Glass. Google Glass Genie is the Swiss Army Knife of Glassware gives you the details.

The thing that struck me is the real time component found across all of these different uses for Glass. The value is in the real time information Glass provides and the ability to access and use that information at the needed moment. The right information, at the right time, accessible anywhere. Real time information can be a powerful tool, that’s apparent from the impressive list of uses evolving from a small prism of glass sitting just above my right eye.

I invite you to join me on my journey as a Glass Explorer. Let me know how you’d use Glass in your daily life. Where and how would real time information be helpful to you?

Let the journey begin…

This post originally appeared on CROWDTalk

Google Glass – what would you do with it?

Google Glass – what would you do with it?glass8

Does that seem like an odd question? You know Google as the big Kahuna, the most used web search engine in the world. In fact you probably use Google Search and web tools every day – I do.

So what’s the deal with Google Glass? Think Trinity from the Matrix movies. Remember when they download directions for flying a helicopter directly to her brain – that’s Google Glass but with real time, real world application. Well maybe that’s a little embellished but you get the picture. Google Glass lets you access and share what you need to know, whenever and wherever you need it – without your computer, tablet or smartphone. Google Glass is wearable technology that literally puts information before your eyes.

This past week Google launched its Glass campaign, providing more detail about the actual glasses. Watch the video, you’ll quickly understand the concept and start thinking of ways to use the technology. They’ve also launched a contest enabling people like you and I to put the technology to work in real time, real life situations. The catch is you have to earn access to Google Glass and buy your own pair at $1,500 a pop.

Personally I’m all about real time, I want to have the collective knowledge of the world at my fingertips. I want to share information that I have with other people, when they most need it. I’d like to see communication and knowledge sharing be as simply and easy as well… a Google web search. So absolutely I’d submit a 50 word #ifihadglass entry and I’d pay for the glasses.

Watching the Google video was a good place to start, it quickly got me thinking about different applications for the Glass. Could it help the world be greener? I think so. We recently put in a large organic vegetable garden, how cool would it be to get advice from more experienced growers. To share what I’ve learned with other people – anywhere in the world – who want to be backyard growers. Could we start a Google Green Glass revolution, could we bring together a global group of backyard farmers that spurs us to eat more veggies and use fewer pesticides? I believe we could.

Those involved in animal rescue understand the need to rapidly share information and mobilize the rescue community – the life of an animal depends on it. Imagine sharing information about a shelter dog across your vast network of volunteers while you’re giving that dog some much needed love and attention. You could have your rescue army mobilized before you even leave the shelter. Google Glass photo and video capturing capabilities used with on-the-spot sharing would bring greater speed and broader reach to the global rescue network and just think what that means for the dogs, cats and other animals sitting on the bare cement floor in a local shelter.

Healthcare just might be the ultimate use for Google Glass. Being a health care professional I can see endless possibilities and uses. A group of us from the Google Healthcare Talk Community have been brainstorming how to put Google Glass to use in the health setting. Imagine being diagnosed with a serious illness. Simply understanding everything involved with your care and treatment can be overwhelming, now go to a medical facility that covers 5 city blocks and figure out where to go for your lab work, x-rays and doctor visit. Could Google Glass help a patient navigate the hospital? We think it could.

Could Google Glass benefit the health team providing care in a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH)? It’s hard to think of a way Google Glass wouldn’t be a benefit.  Coordinated care is a major focus at a PCMH, accessing and sharing information across specialties and between health settings is critical to maximizing patient outcomes. Google Glass facilitates this process.

You have to love the enthusiasm of Kathi Browne, founder of the Healthcare Talk Community, she asks you to imagine how a physician might use Google Glass…

  • In place of a stethoscope, more sanitary and never cold
  • As a means to communicate securely with other physicians
  • To magnify moles or injuries
  • Administer visual tests to several patients at one time
  • Screen patients for glaucoma
  • Access information… CPT codes, drug information, research articles
  • Record office visits via hands-free dictation
  • As a tool in bio-feedback therapy
  • Make a telemedicine consult possible

The list could be endless… imagine using Google Glass as a tool for real time information sharing during a global health crisis or as a means of capturing detailed audio and visual documentation during a procedure. I’m sure you get the picture; Google Glass and healthcare are natural partners.

Watch for our #ifihadglass submission. If we’re fortunate enough to be selected you’ll see our Google+ Hangouts used to brainstorm real world healthcare applications for Google Glass. The goal being to identify a short list of immediate uses for the technology, put the Glass to work in these health settings and document along the way. Creating a blog and video resource for everyone involved in health care and starting point for the use of Google Glass in the health setting.

Do you have a healthcare related use for Google Glass? Or perhaps you think it shouldn’t be used in healthcare? We’re interested in your feedback, tell us what you think.

Update March 27, 2013 – Super excited, just got the invite to join #glassexplorers!
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This post originally appeared on CROWDTalk.