Community nurses could soon be turning up to appointments wearing a pair of rather impressive hi-tech glasses.
Their patients may be a little daunted, but it is hoped the glasses will deal with much of the admin associated with each visit.
This would allow the nurses – who typically spend more than half of their day filling out forms and manually inputting data – to spend more time caring for and talking to the patients.
The glasses will help them create a record of the visit, book further appointments, consult live with colleagues such as doctors, plan their day and even determine how well a wound is healing.
Community nurses could soon be turning up to appointments wearing a pair of rather impressive hi-tech glasses
The technology, funded by NHS England, will be tried out in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole from next week.
‘These new smart glasses are the latest pioneering tech and really show us what the future of the NHS could look like,’ claimed Dr Tim Ferris, NHS director for transformation.
‘They are a win-win for staff and patients alike, freeing up time-consuming admin for nurses, meaning more time for patient care.’
The glasses use thermal imaging to scan patients’ wounds, using the heat they radiate to judge how well they are healing.
Nurses can also use the glasses like Amazon’s smart speaker Alexa, using simple key words such as ‘refer’ to set up an appointment with a GP, physiotherapist or, for example, a provider of walking aids.
The headset will pick up the instruction and email the correct team to set up an appointment.
The technology can also arrange each day’s home visits based on the shortest time door-to-door, displaying how long they will take to reach each patient, using live travel updates.
The glasses can even share live footage with senior colleagues for a second opinion, removing the need for further appointments or hospital admissions.
The glasses can show nurses their next few appointments, which they navigate by moving their head. They then stare at the one they want for more than a second to select it.
They can then go straight into a consultation, with the glasses recording a video of the appointment and creating a transcript of the key points to add to the patient’s medical records.
Even when a patient does not want to be recorded, the nurse can avoid making laborious notes by recording a quick voice summary of the home visit.
Afterwards, if they need to see the patient again, the nurse can give the glasses a command such as ‘follow up in two days’, which will add a new appointment to their calendar.
The glasses will help nurses create a record of the visit, book further appointments, consult live with colleagues such as doctors, plan their day and even determine how well a wound is healing
The technology could save GPs time by allowing them to send nurses to appointments. They can then watch the recordings back later. GPs, along with memory specialists and dermatologists, are those who nurses can video-call with the glasses to tackle tricky cases in real time.
For now, the software has been kept simple to avoid overwhelming busy nurses. In the future they could be used to store to-do lists and to read patient records.
The glasses allow the nurse to see their patient normally, but flash up displays that can be acted on at the same time.
The wound-scanning technology is particularly important, because dealing with wounds can make up around 40 per cent of community nurses’ workload.
Under the trial run by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, patients will be asked if they consent for the technology to be used and their data to be recorded.
The software used in the glasses, called A.Consult, was developed by Concept Health, a company founded by GP Farhan Amin.