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Smart Glasses Deliver Clear View to Remote Physicians

Analysis  |  By Mandy Roth  
   May 02, 2019

Innovation combines smart glasses with teleconferencing; company is seeking health systems to test the solution.

A new innovation that combines smart glasses with telehealth video conferencing could enhance virtual care by providing a clear, more precise view of a remotely located patient. The system also has  potential applications in academic settings, enabling students to view onscreen exactly what a physician is seeing in an operating room or other treatment environment.

The solution combines smart glasses from Rochester, New York-based Vuzix Corporation, which also develops augmented reality (AR) technology and products, with a video conferencing solution provided by VSee, a San Jose-based video telehealth company. The glasses and the conferencing technology are already commercially available; the innovation involved putting the two solutions together.

VSee exhibited at the recent ATA19 telehealth conference in New Orleans and is seeking health system partners to test the product in in their settings.

In virtual care situations, the glasses would be worn by an onsite provider, such as a general practitioner, nurse, or physician assistant, with guidance provided by an offsite physician or specialist. VSee CEO Milton Chen, PhD, explains the advantage of smart glasses, versus a smartphone, handheld camera, or other portable device, is that the glasses free the hands of the onsite provider. In addition, the remote physician sees exactly what the onsite provider sees from precisely the same perspective.

About five years ago, VSee tested a similar solution with an early generation of smart glasses, and ran into issues when batteries in the devices overheated. "The technology was not ready for telemedicine," says Chen. The advancements featured in Vuzix's M300XL and Blade smart glasses are ideal for teleconferencing, he says.

In addition to meeting virtual care and academic needs, Chen envisions opportunities to use the system for remote training on imaging technology, such as CTs and ultrasounds, teaching more routine procedures, such as inserting IVs, and perhaps even AR-enhanced video visits.

VSee was founded in 2008 and serves over 1,000 companies around the globe including Walgreens and MDLIVE, as well as health systems including Ascension, Sutter Health, and HealthPartners. The company also delivers service beyond the planet, providing video conferencing solutions for the Internal Space Station since 2014.

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Vizux

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