Google Glass for Nurses?

imageIt’s been a few weeks since I was selected to be a Google Glass Explorer and ever since my brain has been humming with thoughts and ideas on how nurses could utilize the technology. How could nurses improve the care they deliver? How could HIPAA be a non-issue?

Informational Purposes

One of the biggest ways that a nurse could benefit from Google Glass is easy access to information. Without having to take her hands off a patient or excuse herself from a procedure a nurse can easily locate health information. Need the interactions for a medication, ask Google Glass and it will instant appear on your screen for your eyes only.

Improved Communication

Imagine if every nurse in the hospital had Google Glass and it was integrated into the call-light system. If your hands are gloved and dirty it’s not a good idea to answer that phone on your hip. But if you glad Google Glass you could easily answer and complete the conversation. You could also receive text updates via the screen.

What About HIPAA?

There is always a concern of HIPAA when new technology is introduced into patient care. If Google Glass are personal devices then there is an obvious reason for concern. This can be eliminated if they are owned by the healthcare organization and are encrypted on the hospital network. Initially the device would likely work best for information purposes. Later EMR documentation could be integrated so long as there was a perfected way to make sure that patient information went to the correct location.

As technology improves and become increasingly more available, healthcare is going to have to step up to the plate. In the not-to-distant-future, technologies such as Google Glass won’t be an oddity at the bedside, but rather the expectation.

  • What are you thoughts on Google Glass?
  • Do you think it can help to improve healthcare?
  • How would you use Google Glass if you had it?

Please comment and continue the conversation below.


  1. Nurse Pinky says

    Google glass with Siri ( voce command/dictation) should be an area Google should explore . Imagine wearing the glass while nurses and MDs rounds.Taking photo of a wound, or body parts goo-glass is capturing while you dictate your real time assessment of the patient, hands free. All these will be automatically charted in patients medical records. If anything nurses & MDs hate is the time consuming documenttaion. More time will be spent at the bedside,increasing patient satisfaction . It can also handle phone calls /pages without picking up the phone or pagers.One way of spreading germs.

  2. jecotern says

    I am currently finishing a graduate degree in nursing with an emphasis on education of nurses.  What is so interesting is that I had no knowledge of Google Glass until I read about it here.  I like the idea of innovative technologies that can be applied to health care, particularly with the movement toward evidence-based nursing.  If a nurse can access information quickly (a policy or instructions) without leaving the bedside, it only improves the care and efficiency.  Of course, I see HIPAA concerns but I am sure there are multiple ways to protect patients.  Informative.  Thank you.

    • says

      jecotern I am so glad that you were able to learn about Google Glass from my blog! 
      The potential for it’s use in health care are huge. You’re right about needing to get over potential HIPAA concerns but the potential for nurses to get access to patient information is excellent. I’d love to see an EMR that was smart enough to accurately take voice commands. 
      There is some really cool voice recognition functionality in MEDITECH using Dragon Dictation and PDOC. It’d be nice to see this used through EMR systems.

  3. Scottatsm4hc says

    Society’s adoption of innovation in internet time is nothing short of stunning. No sooner did we think that the PC “changed our world” then smart phones come along. Now there’s Google Glass. Given healthcare’s resistance to rapid change, I wonder if there might not develop a sort of digital medical divide? Those to do (ie: welcome, embrace and use social media, apps and Google Glass), and those who are left behind in the dust of history.
    My guess is Google Glass will become the “new norm” just about as fast as they can be manufactured and sold.

    • says

      Scottatsm4hc after working in healthcare IT, I have more understanding for why healthcare is so resistant to change. A large portion of it is because medicare is constantly changing the rules and we are having to jump through all their hoops to meet their standards. It leaves little time, money, and personnel  for much else.  They are so often afraid of being sued or fined that it stops them dead in their tracks from being innovative. It’s hard to be a forward thinker when you’re drowning.

      • Scottatsm4hc says

        TheNerdyNurse Scottatsm4hc Well stated and please forgive my bravado. I see IT departments right and left with larger budgets and still underfunded/under resourced. 
        In a system that’s broken, it’s hard being a bottleneck.

        • says

          Budgets for IT have increased, but not at the rate of technology growth. But you are right that IT is the bottleneck. Unfortunately IT is often considered just support and aren’t valued as much for their innovative contributions to hospitals and healthcare.

        • Scottatsm4hc says

          TheNerdyNurse I come from the marketing/PR side in healthcare and therefore have found myself not surprisingly at loggerheads with IT. 
          Something you might consider (if you feel so inclined) is to write an open letter to people like me … “What you don’t know but should realize …” or something along those lines. 
          I’d be interested to learn what you have to say, and if you do I’d be happy to write a reply.

  4. Amber S. says

    I am a new grad (yay!) I am very interested in incorporating new technology into the health care field. I have been at hospitals that both still have paper charting and paperless hospitals. I just think that there has to be another option out there. something more efficient. I am not sure exactly how google glass works but being able to access charts at the bedside with constant updates of meds, labs and orders has got to be a good thing. Doctors now have the convenience of writing orders form home and you never know when one will pop up. This looks like it have amazing potential, please keep us updated


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