March 25, 2023

Community nurses could soon be showing up to appointments wearing rather impressive hi-tech glasses.

Their patients may be a little discouraged, but it’s hoped the glasses will handle much of the paperwork that comes with each visit.

This would allow nurses – who typically spend more than half their day filling out forms and manually entering data – to spend more time caring for and talking to patients.

With the glasses they can record 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 showing up for appointments wearing rather impressive hi-tech glasses

The technology, funded by NHS England, will be trialled in North Lincolnshire and Goole from next week.

‘These new smart glasses are the latest breakthrough technology 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 both staff and patients, freeing up time-consuming administration for nurses, meaning more time for patient care.”

The glasses use thermal imaging to scan patients’ wounds and use the heat they radiate to assess how well they are healing.

Nurses can also use the glasses like Amazon’s smart speaker Alexa, with simple keywords like ‘refer’ to make an appointment with a GP, physiotherapist or, for example, a provider of walking aids.

The headset picks up the instruction and emails the appropriate team to set up an appointment.

The technology can also control each day’s home visits based on the shortest door-to-door time, and display how long it takes to reach each patient, using live travel updates.

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The glasses can even share live images with senior colleagues for a second opinion, eliminating the need for further appointments or hospitalizations.

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 to a consultation, with the glasses recording a video of the appointment and transcribing the key points to add to the patient’s medical record.

Even if a patient does not want to be admitted, the nurse can avoid making cumbersome notes by recording a quick spoken summary of the home visit.

If they need to see the patient again after that, the nurse can give the glasses a command, such as “check in two days,” which will add a new appointment to their calendar.

The glasses help nurses record visits, 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 sending nurses to appointments. They can then review the recordings later. General practitioners, along with memory specialists and dermatologists, are the ones who can video call nurses using the glasses to address difficult cases in real time.

For now, the software has been kept simple to avoid overwhelmingly busy nurses. In the future, they could be used to store to-do lists and read patient records.

With the glasses, the nurse can see their patient normally, but displays flash on which action can be taken at the same time.

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Wound scanning technology is particularly important, as treating wounds can account for approximately 40 percent of the workload of district nurses.

Under the trial conducted by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, patients will be asked to consent to the use of the technology and the recording of their data.

The software used in the glasses, called A.Consult, was developed by Concept Health, a company founded by GP Farhan Amin.