An in-hospital setting isn’t the only use for this telemedicine application. Dan Herbstman, CEO and Co-Founder of Third Eye Health, mentions a potential use-case for EMTs using EmergencyAssist to assess the severity of stroke or head-injury victims in the field, showing the extent of the injury to a physician at a hospital through a live stream, and then determining the appropriate course of treatment, such as needing to take the victim to the hospital or treating minor injuries on site. This application can help reduce costs not only for the hospital, but for the insurance company and patient as well, all without sacrificing quality of care to the patient.
Built with Security in Mind
Virtually any involvement with the medical industry in the United States requires adherence to strict rules and regulations such as HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Being compliant with these laws, regulations, and hospital policies were the most difficult problems Third Eye faced.
“The biggest hurdle was meeting hospital IT security and compliance policies,” Dan mentions in an email correspondence.
“We worked closely with the compliance and IT leadership groups at our pilot institutions to develop a secure, HIPAA-compliant solution that they are comfortable complies with all laws and [hospital] policies.”
All standard Glassware is removed from Google Glass and communications with Google’s servers are disabled before the EmergencyAssist software is installed on the device. Dictated notes, pictures, and live video streaming through the Glassware are immediately transmitted over a securely encrypted 256-bit SSL connection to HIPAA compliant servers. Even though short videos a physician may want to record for documentation and relay to a specialist are briefly stored on Glass, they are immediately deleted by the EmergencyAssist software once uploaded to these same secure servers.
EmergencyAssist takes advantage of Glass’s on-head detection to automatically lock the screen when the device is taken off of one’s head and can only be unlocked using an assigned pattern of taps and swipes. If the device is turned off, the same pattern must be provided to use Glass again after powering the device back on. This method prevents sensitive patient and hospital information from falling in to unintended hands, which was another point of concern pilot hospital IT departments expressed to Third Eye Health. Access to the web portal for physicians and specialists through a smartphone or web browser requires a username and password.
Third Eye Health is looking towards wearables to reduce unnecessary hospital costs due to incorrect diagnoses, while also increasing the efficiency at which a hospital or other health organization can operate. EmergencyAssist may help augment remote house calls or periodic checkups and reduce the number of readmissions to a hospital after a patient is discharged. This can turn into a cost-saving measure for hospitals, which may be penalized by Medicare if a discharged patient is re-admitted within 30 days for the same illness or injury, while also maintaining higher quality of care for the patient. Another potential use in the hospital for Glass and EmergencyAssist is access to training documents and hospital-specific protocols for medical students and interns to review and learn.
At this time, EmergencyAssist’s menu system is largely navigated using swipe and tap gestures, as the development team and pilot testing has found that background noise increasingly interferes with voice commands. This is why Third Eye is also experimenting with other wearables, such as Thalmic’s Myo armband, that can allow for touch-less controls of Glass and other devices.
Third Eye Health has approval for pilot testing at two additional health institutions later this year, with the goal of completing up to five pilot tests by early 2015. Current pilots are approved through institutional review boards for the purposes of publishing the results of these testing sites in peer-reviewed medical journals.
Source: Third Eye Health