Google Glass and Wound EMR for Quality Wound Care

Google GlassWhen treating chronic wounds, meticulous documentation is inevitable for determining wound severity and monitoring the healing process over time. However, current wound documentation with digital photography is a time-consuming and hectic process. As a wearable computer device equipped with a light optical head mounted display, Google Glass enables physicians to capture data (photographs and videos) in real-time, at the point of care, hands-free. If a wound EMR is made available with this device, it would be much more flexible for wound care physicians and nurses to work and expedite care provision.

With Google Glass, you need not access your computer each and every time to record patient details when it is possible to capture data even during busy clinic schedules. This will help you build better interaction with patients. While using digital cameras for wound photography, you need up to two days to upload wound images to patients’ electronic medical records. Though smartphones and tablets reduce the time taken to capture photographs and upload them into the EMR, there is still a significant drawback that these devices are hands-on. It requires two to three nurses to capture photographs using hands-on devices – one to hold the camera, a second nurse to position the patient and yet another nurse to assist with patient positioning. In addition to that, there is a higher possibility for cross-contamination and patient infections with physical handling of the cameras. Google Glass eliminates all these difficulties and helps nurses efficiently capture images and videos.

Wound care professionals also like the flexibility Google Glass technology provides for their documentation process. A recent study published in PLOS Journal presented the development and assessment of a system that include both Google Glass application and an Android smartphone application initially designed to be used by nurses for chronic wound photography. A total of sixteen wound care nurses were involved in this study and the nurses were in favor of most of the features the system provided. The features included barcode scanning for patient identification, voice-based documentation through video, double-blinking to take photographs, head tilt to zoom the pictures and speech-to-text annotation. Let’s see how nurses respond to each of these features.

  • All the nurses were able to read patient barcode within four seconds and one of them indicated that this facility to barcode patient identity can reduce critical errors such as mislabeling image or uploading data to the wrong chart.
  • Nurses strongly preferred voice-based documentation through a brief video recording though they commented that the duration of recording was short.
  • Double blinking was also well received by nurses though one of them took several photographs inadvertently as Google Glass registered natural blinking as double blinking.
  • Head tilting for zooming in and out was the least preferred interaction method as nurses felt this feature could interfere with the ability to take quality photographs.
  • Nurses warmly welcomed the possibility to annotate a wound through speech-to-text transcription and expressed their anticipation to access the text for review and editing purposes, if necessary.

In this way, the study has also laid the foundation for the development of new integrated applications involving Google Glass to capture digital images for wound care and transfer them to EMR. However, privacy issues are still a matter of concern while using Google Glass. In the study mentioned above, it was found that the system requires security and privacy features for use in clinical care that is specific to the EMR system of each hospital. You should seek permission from patients when taking photographs and utilize HIPAA-compliant data transfer methods.

Google Glass can help make your wound documentation more robust if you use a specialty EMR solely designed for wound care. With general EMR, there would be a large number of templates and finding the right templates may prove time intensive. Moreover, it may also increase the possibility of making inadvertent errors. As wound EMR is specialized software for documenting wounds, it will be easy for you to access and record data much faster.