NHS trials high-tech smart glasses for community nurses

NHS trials high-tech smart glasses for community nurses
© iStock/sanjeri

Innovative smart glasses will be worn by community nurses to free up time with patients by reducing admin tasks.

In an innovative attempt to reduce time-consuming admin tasks, the NHS is trialling smart glasses to transcribe community nurses’ appointments directly to electronic records. Staff will be able to share the footage with hospital colleagues to get second opinions, avoid needing further appointments, and include thermal imaging to help assess how wounds and injuries have healed.

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.”

Implementing smart glasses into the NHS

The smart glasses will be trialled in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole in late August 2022, to reduce the time spent completing admin tasks.

The NHS estimates that community nurses are spending over half a day filling out forms and manually inputting patient data. Smart glasses will play an important role to expand nurses’ capacity, giving them more time for clinical tasks like checking blood pressure, dressing wounds and assessing patients’ health needs.

To trial this new technology, the NHS allocated £400,000 to test the smart glasses as part of a wider innovation project, which will further fund 16 pilot projects over the next few months.

The NHS Long Term Plan aims to introduce the latest technologies and innovations into the healthcare service to improve patient and staff lives. Earlier in 2022, the NHS announced that patients with Parkinson’s would be given life-changing smartwatches for doctors to remotely assess their condition.

Minister for Health, Maria Caulfield, said: “Health and care research is crucial to transforming our health service and ensuring the NHS is able to deliver world-class care.

“These new high-tech goggles have the potential to revolutionise the way community nurses carry out home visits – reducing admin and increasing the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment.

“Yet again, this technology is testament to the UK’s innovation and our front-footedness in the discovery of ground-breaking research, which can help us beat the COVID backlogs.”

Transferring patient data to an electronic system

The new technology will require patients to be informed and explicitly consent to be a part of the trial and their data to be recorded in this manner.

The software in the smart glasses, dubbed A.Consult, was developed by Concept Health, a company founded by a GP. If the patients agree to obtain their data this way, the information will be transported securely to an electronic patient record system.

Farhan Amin, practising GP and founder of ConceptHealth, said: “We’re proud to have partnered with NLaG to trial this technology in community services. Aside from the clear benefits, A.Consult will bring in terms of reducing the administrative burden on staff, we’re keen to explore the longer-term impact the glasses will have in terms of improving productivity.

“As the smart glasses learn from each patient encounter, it will automate key tasks currently performed manually giving staff time back to deliver holistic person-centred care to each patient.”


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