Community nurses on home visits will wear cutting edge ‘smart goggles’ as part of a NHSE pilot scheme aimed at freeing up time to spend with patients.
Subject to patient consent, community nurses in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole (NLaG) will be wearing ‘virtual reality style headsets’ to reduce time consuming admin.
The headsets are able to transcribe the appointment directly to electronic records. They will also be able to share footage directly with hospital colleagues to get a second opinion and cut down on the need for further appointments and hospital admissions.
As community nurses are estimated to spend more than half their day filling out forms and manually imputing patient data, it is hoped that this will free up valuable time to spend with patients.
NHS director for transformation Dr Tim Ferris 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.’
The smart goggles will also be fitted with thermal imaging cameras to help assess how wounds and other injuries have healed by providing an augmented reality display. It is also claimed that they help nurses look up their next appointment that day and check how long it will take to get there based on live travel updates.
This follows the success of a digital triage scheme in the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. In that trial community nurses used visual technology to share images of wounds, de-escalating 75% of same day cases.
Becky Birchall, a clinical nurse specialist taking part in the scheme, said that her team were ‘so excited to be the first NHS team in England to try the smart glasses out and can’t wait to take them out on our community visits to see our patients.
‘We currently spend a considerable amount of time writing up our visits to patients and these cutting-edge goggles will really help to cut down the time we need to keep for admin, supporting us to care for our patients.’
While the smart goggles themselves are made by ThirdEye, the software which the goggles use, named A.Consult, was developed by Concept Health a company founded by practising GP Farhan Amin.
Mr Amin said: ‘We’re proud to have partnered with NLaG to trial this technology in community services. Aside from the clear benefits A.Consult will bring in terms of reducing the administrative burden on staff, we’re keen to explore the longer-term impact the glasses will have in terms of improving productivity.
‘As the smart glasses learn from each patient encounter, it will automate key tasks currently performed manually giving staff time back to deliver holistic person-centred care to each patient.’