|By Ameet Sachdev, Chicago Tribune|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Rubinson-Morris is president and chief executive officer of
The company has acquired two pairs of Google Glass installed with software and connected to the Internet, allowing paramedics to transmit live video and audio from an ambulance to a doctor in an emergency room who will be able to watch the video stream on a tablet or desktop computer.
The additional eyes on a patient can provide paramedics with advice, diagnosis and treatment options.
Virtual medical exams where doctors in distant locations evaluate patients online are proliferating. But video consultations have traditionally connected patients in rural areas to specialists at urban medical centers. Google Glass offers the potential to expand video interactions into all corners of the health care industry because it is mobile.
"By hospital equipment standards, Google Glass is a steal," Wiechmann said.
"It's a really low-cost way of entering the telemedicine world," Porter said. "I think this is promising technology because it allows physicians to engage with a patient at eye level. There's nothing more discouraging than seeing a physician looking at his computer typing while trying to talk to you."
Porter said that although the video-streaming software on Glass has worked with few glitches, he hasn't tested it in a fast-moving ambulance with sirens blaring. That's the big challenge for
"We have to make sure the technology works," said Dr.
Before Illinois Masonic can take part in the
Out of the box, Glass does not comply with the federal privacy law, known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. But
The company buys Glasses from
"It's very easy to think of us as a Glass company," Samani said. "But our vision is to be a telemedicine company."
Wiechmann, also an assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine, said he sees a lot of potential for Glass in medical emergencies, such as strokes and heart attacks. Paramedics typically use two-way radios to talk with nurses and doctors at hospitals.
If a patient's condition suddenly changes in an ambulance, Glass allows a physician to provide more supervision and help at an earlier stage.
"There could be significant improvements in patient outcomes in having early intervention with a neurologist or cardiologist where they can see what's going on," Wiechmann said.
The company has a fleet of more than 50 ambulances that serve a number of hospitals, including Lurie Children's and the
The CEO credits one of her employees for introducing Glass to her. The employee also discovered Pristine after extensive research.
"We think it will do so much more to assist the patient and the physician," Rubinson-Morris said. "We're excited."
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