Local nurses are set to pilot innovative new technology which will give them more time to spend on patient care, in a first for NHS community services.
Thanks to a funding injection of £400,000 from NHS England, community teams at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust will be trialling augmented reality glasses.
Working with Concept Health staff will be wearing the smart glasses during home visits as part of a pilot scheme set to start this Summer.
Providing the patient has consented staff will be able to record parts of the visit, e.g. they could record video footage of them carrying out a clinical task like dressing a wound or they can simply record the audio. Either way the glasses transcribe the information directly into the electronic patient record and it’s all safely stored on the cloud. This is expected to considerably reduce the amount of administrative time teams are spending; freeing them up to spend more time on clinical duties.
The Lord Carter review estimated that community nurses spend more than half their working day on non-clinical activities (53%), with much of that is taken up by administrative tasks. It’s hoped the trial will reduce the amount of time staff spend on these tasks.
At a quick glance staff will also be able to look up their next appointment in their field of vision, see how long it will take to get there based on live traffic updates. They’ll also have the ability to share live footage with colleagues to get a second opinion while still with the patient. The glasses also have thermal imaging which colleagues will be able to use to determine if a wound has improved or not and over time the glasses will learn how long it takes to do certain tasks, helping staff to manage their diaries better.
The React to Red (Tissue Viability) team have been chosen for the pilot to test out augmented reality glasses. We are the first NHS Trust to implement this technology in this setting in the UK.
Becky Birchall, Community Tissue Viability Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: “We’re excited to be the first team to try the smart glasses out and can’t wait to take them out on our community visits. We currently spend a considerable amount of time writing up our visits to patients and these cutting-edge glasses will really help to cut down the time we need to keep for admin, supporting us to provide focussed patient care. The glasses have a thermal imaging feature, which I think will be particularly useful for us when we are examining wounds and these features are going to really help us provide the best possible care for our patients.”
As a glasses wearer Becky wasn’t sure she’d be able to take part in the pilot, but ConceptHealth have provided her with a handy insert, tailored to her prescription, which sits just inside the frame.
Claire Shipley, Assistant General Manager for Community Services at the Trust said: “This is an incredibly exciting project to be involved with and is going to absolutely transform the way our community staff interact with patients; ultimately save them time enabling them to see more people each day. We chose the React to Red team for the pilot as we felt they’d see the most benefit in terms of a time saving. We hope that patients will support us as we trial this pioneering technology and will embrace it just as much as our staff have.”
A GP by background, Farhan Amin is Founder of ConceptHealth, the company that developed the technology. He 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.”
The funding for the project came from an NHS England fund set up to unlock the potential of digital technologies to support the delivery of care within the ambulance and community health service sectors. It’s one of 17 projects across 16 healthcare organisations to receive a share of £6 million of the Digital PODAC Unified Tech Fund.
See the smart glasses, A.Consult, in action on YouTube. The A.consult software was built to run on ThirdEye Gen’s, a Princeton, New Jersey, USA based company’ Smart glasses