A team of physicians at Rhode Island Hospital experimented with Google Glass to test the effectiveness, security and patient acceptance of the wearable in real-time, video dermatological consultations. The study results were published in JAMA Dermatology.
The Glass was used by select patients who were able to contact a dermatologist through a video link and a HIPAA-compliant platform. Afterwards, patients were surveyed about their experience with teledermatology.
Teledermatologists were able to appreciate both the gestalt of nonspecific skin eruptions and specific skin diseases.Unsurprisingly, video consultations are preferred over more widely practiced telephone consults, according to Paul S. Porter, M.D., the principal investigator and a physician in the emergency department of Rhode Island, Hasbro Children’s and The Miriam hospitals. Moreover, Google Glass was also described as a great tool for hospitals which can start a telemedicine program for a few thousand dollars and gain access to an experience that was only previously available at a much higher price point.
During the study, teledermatologists were able to appreciate both the gestalt of nonspecific skin eruptions and specific skin diseases. Additionally, the off-site doctors were able to interact with the on-site doctors by asking questions and requesting additional skin locations to examine. No information was stored in the process, and the live transmission was encrypted.
Rhode Island Hospital claims it was the first hospital in the U.S. to test Google Glass in an emergency department setting. The study began in March of 2014 and concluded after six months. Although it produced promising results, these cannot be generalized to other institutions because of the small size and single-site status. Also, the accuracy of the diagnosis in the cases wasn’t measured, and the financial and workflow effects of the device weren’t addressed.