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Can Google Glass Get Any HIPAA?

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media, April 30, 2014

The Science of Compliance
While there are many clinicians like Porter who believe Google Glass and similar technologies will become standard tools in hospitals and doctors' offices, there are also those with concerns about privacy.

While the most common privacy concern is Google Glass's camera, that's the least of a hospital IT department's worries. The camera can be disabled. As a matter of policy, however, work remains. "We're currently investigating how to handle the camera, and investigating whether we need to disable that functionality," said Adam Landman, emergency physician and Chief Medical Information Officer for Health Information Innovation and Integration at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Karandeep Singh, M.D, is a nephrology fellow who is making alterations to Brigham and Women's version of Google Glass in order to make it HIPAA complaint. While he agrees that Glass will be a positive tool for clinicians, he also thinks about how it will change interactions between doctor and patient.

"The patient cannot see what the doctor is looking at. What is the appropriate etiquette for this situation?" he asks. Many patients like to see that a doctor is looking at their chart—they take that to mean that he is reviewing information and properly doing his job. "How will those patients feel when they don't know if the doctor has reviewed their information?"

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