Can Google Glass Get Any HIPAA?

Lena J. Weiner, April 30, 2014

Google Glass is a hip new accessory gaining acceptance in clinical settings, but before widespread adoption can take place, organizations must ensure that the wearable device is HIPAA-compliant.

Google Glass

Imagine being able to find and view a patient's electronic health record with a simple nod of the head, or being able to maintain eye contact with patients while reviewing their records, or being able to check in on a patient from a remote location as if you were both in the same room.

This technology is already in use by healthcare providers and may be more widespread than you think. If it hasn't already made a debut in an emergency department near you, it will soon. Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center, and Indiana State University Hospital are just a few of the organizations that are using Google Glass at least an experimental basis.

"From the patient perspective, there's nothing worse than watching a doctor sit down and type at a computer screen. Glass enables you to meet a patient at eye level," says Paul Porter, MD, a physician at Rhode Island Hospital's department of emergency medicine. "This is a starting point toward a complete telemedicine program," he continued.

Telemedicine's Expanding Options

Rhode Island Hospital is currently using Glass for dermatological emergencies, said Porter. "If it's after hours or the doctor is offsite, or they're otherwise unavailable, it puts [a dermatologist] right in room with the patient at the time of care."

Lena J. Weiner

Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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