How augmented reality is helping medics

Posted Nov 2, 2017 by Tim Sandle
Medical professionals are making greater use of augmented reality, including Google glass. Imaging systems are assisting with everything from surgery to training the next generation of physicians.
Augmented reality technology in action.
Augmented reality technology in action.
A leading example of how digital technology is reshaping how physicians work with patients, can be found at the Sutter Health Network, which serves more than 100 communities in Northern California. Dr. Albert Chan, who heads up the digital patient experience, is championing the use of tech to improve healthcare.
Google Glass half full
In a new venture, Dr. Chan has entered into partnership with Augmedix. This is to provide Google Glass for patient visits. The partnership has led to over 100 medics at different centers using Google Glass with their patients. The application is augmented reality.
This allows the patient visit to be streamed in real-time. A transmission is sent to a scribe at a remote location, where notes are taken and added to the patient’s medical record. This fits with the Augmedix philosophy, which is to simplify how physicians use electronic health records.
By reducing the level of documentation that medics need to complete, the aim is to “re-humanize the doctor-patient relationship.” Through needing to complete fewer records, doctors have more time to spend with patients.
Medics can also speak voice commands to instruct Augmedix’s software to display important patient information like laboratory results or charts onto Glass’s small head-up display.
A step in the right direction
Speaking about the advantages of the Augmedix-Google glass system, Dr. Chan told Tech Republic: “There is this power of being hands free and allowing yourself to focus. When I think of all the distractions in my day, it's nice to be able to focus on my patients. That's what's been truly remarkable.”
Google Glass may not have enjoyed the best reception when an attempt was made to launch it as a consumer product; however, since then the technology has been developed with medics in mind. There have been changes to the touchpad, located on the side of Google Glass which allows users to control the device by swiping through a timeline-like interface displayed on the screen. There has also been an update to the camera, which allows the user to take photographs and record 720p HD video. In addition, the display has been upgraded to a liquid crystal on silicon field-sequential color system.
San Francisco-based Augmedix has been working with Google X for some time to develop the Glass concept for healthcare use. Augmedix has become the largest Google Glass partner in the healthcare industry.