NHS to pilot smart glasses to free up time for community nurses

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The NHS will trial the use of smart glasses which will be worn by community nurses during home visits to free up time with patients.

Provided the patient consents, the VR-style headset can transcribe the appointment directly into electronic records, reducing time-consuming administrative tasks for nurses.

Staff will have the ability to share live images directly with hospital colleagues for a second opinion, avoiding the need to make further appointments or be admitted to hospital.

It is estimated that community nurses spend more than half their day filling out forms and manually entering patient data. The pilot project will allow them to expand their capacity, giving them more time for clinical tasks such as checking blood pressure, dressing wounds and assessing relevant patient health needs.

The glasses also help nurses find their next appointment that day and check how long it will take them to get there based on live travel updates. The software used in the smart glasses, dubbed A.Consult, was developed by Concept Health.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust will test the technology in August 2022.

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

“These new smart glasses are the latest pioneering technology and really show us what the future of the NHS could look like – they’re a win-win for staff and patients, freeing up time for nurses, which means more time for patient care.”

NHS England has given the trust £400,000 to test the technology as part of a wider innovation project, which is expected to fund a further 16 pilot projects over the next few months.

Local patients in North Lincolnshire and Goole will be told about the project and asked if they consent to the technology being used and their data being recorded. If they agree, the patient’s data will be securely transferred to the electronic patient record (EPR) system.

Becky Birchall, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Community Tissue Sustainability at the Trust, said: “We are delighted to be the first team to try out the smart glasses and we look forward to taking them on our community visits.

“We currently spend a lot of time writing down our patient visits and these state-of-the-art glasses will really help reduce the time we have to spend on administration, helping us provide focused patient care.

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

The pilot is one of 17 projects across 16 healthcare organizations to receive a £6m share of the Digital PODAC Unified Tech Fund set up by NHS England.

In another pioneering project earlier this year, the NHS announced that patients with Parkinson’s disease would receive life-changing smartwatches that allow doctors to access their condition remotely. The use of these watches is developed by Plymouth University Hospitals and Plymouth University.

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