The NHS is to trial the use of smart goggles that will be worn by community nurses on home visits in order to free up time with patients.
Providing that the patient consents, the virtual reality style headset can transcribe the appointment directly to electronic records, reducing time-consuming admin for nurses.
Staff will have the ability to share live footage directly with hospital colleagues to get a second opinion, avoiding the need for further appointments or hospital admission.
Community nurses are estimated to spend more than half of their day filling out forms and inputting patient data manually. The pilot will enable them to expand their capacity, giving them more time for clinical tasks such as checking blood pressure, dressing wounds and assessing patient’s relevant health needs.
The glasses also help nurses look up their next appointment that day and check how long it will take to get there based on live travel updates. The software used in the smart glasses, dubbed A.Consult, was developed by Concept Health.
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust will be trialling the techonology in August 2022.
Dr Tim Ferris, NHS director for transformation, said: “Some of the best innovations come from local solutions and so through this project, NHS staff can test what works for them and what provides the best possible care for patients.
“These new smart glasses are the latest pioneering tech and really show us what the future of the NHS could look like – they are a win-win for staff and patients alike, freeing up time consuming admin for nurses, meaning more time for patient care.”
NHS England awarded the trust £400,000 to test the technology as part of a wider innovation project, which is set to fund a further 16 pilot projects over the coming months.
Local patients in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole will be informed about the project and asked if they consent for the technology to be used and their data to be recorded. If they agree, patient data will be transferred securely to the electronic patient record (EPR) system.
Becky Birchall, community tissue viability clinical nurse specialist at the trust, said: “We’re excited to be the first team to try the smart glasses out and can’t wait to take them out on our community visits.
“We currently spend a considerable amount of time writing up our visits to patients and these cutting-edge glasses will really help to cut down the time we need to keep for admin, supporting us to provide focussed patient care.
“The glasses have a thermal imaging feature, which I think will be particularly useful for us when we are examining wounds and these features are going to really help us provide the best possible care for our patients.”
The pilot is one of 17 projects across 16 healthcare organisations to receive a share of £6million of the Digital PODAC Unified Tech Fund set by NHS England.
In another pioneering project earlier this year, the NHS announced that patients with Parkinson’s disease would be given life-changing smartwatches that allow doctors to remotely access their condition. The use of these watches is being developed by University Hospitals Plymouth and the University of Plymouth.