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Community nurses to trial smart glasses


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Two nurses with smart goggles
Image source: NHS England

NHS England is to support a trial of the use of smart glasses by community nurses within Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

The pilot is beginning this week, with patients being informed about the project and explicitly asked if they consent to the technology being used and their data recorded.

The smart glasses use and augmented reality software named A.Consult, developed by GP founded company Concept Health.

This uses speech recognition and eye movement monitors to enable users to call up information that shows on the lens, such as patient records, details of appointments and estimated travelling times.

It also uses speech recognition, picking up on key words and instructions, to enable nurses to start and stop recordings of information that can be automatically transcribed to patient records.

Injury imaging

Other features include thermal imaging to help assess how wounds and injuries have healed, and a function to share live footage of an examination with colleagues through a secure system managed by Concept Health for second opinions.

NHS England said this will help to reduce the need for further appointments and hospital admissions, and that community nurses are estimated to spend more than half of their time filling out forms and manually inputting data.

It expects the pilot to give them more time for clinical tasks.

Dr Farhan Amin, founder of ConceptHealth, said the software also has the ability to learn from each patient encounter, which will lead to it being able to automate some tasks.

NHS director for transformation Dr Tim Ferris said: “Some of the best innovations come from local solutions and so through this project, NHS staff can test what works for them and what provides the best possible care for patients.

“These new smart glasses are the latest pioneering tech and really show us what the future of the NHS could look like – they are a win-win for staff and patients alike, freeing up time consuming admin for nurses, meaning more time for patient care”.

Time saver

Clinical nurse specialist Becky Birchall, leader of the team taking part in the pilot, said: “We currently spend a considerable amount of time writing up our visits to patients and these cutting edge goggles will really help to cut down the time we need to keep for admin, supporting us to care for our patients.

“The glasses have a thermal imaging feature, which I think will be particularly useful for us when we are examining wounds and these features are going to really help us provide the best possible care for our patients”.

The pilot is supported by £400,000 of funding from NHS England.

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