NHS trialling 'smart goggles' so nurses can see more patients

·2 min read
The goggles will be trialled in the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust area - NHS England/PA
The goggles will be trialled in the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust area - NHS England/PA

NHS nurses will wear “smart goggles" as part of efforts to see more patients under a £400,000 pilot scheme.

Health chiefs said the virtual reality headsets would mean details of a consultation could be directly transcribed, reducing the amount of time spent filling in patients’ notes.

The technology will also allow live footage to be streamed to hospital specialists for second opinions, so patients do not have to have extra appointments in hospitals.

The intention is to give nurses more time for clinical duties such as checking blood pressure, dressing wounds and assessing a patient’s health needs.

The goggles will be trialled in the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust area from next week with patients who give their consent for the technology to be used and their data to be recorded.

Nurses spend half their days on forms

Community nurses are estimated to spend more than half of their day filling out forms and manually inputting patient data.

The goggles will allow staff to share live footage directly with hospital colleagues to get a second opinion, avoiding the need for further appointments or hospital admission. They include thermal imaging to help assess how wounds and injuries have healed.

Dr Tim Ferris, NHS director for transformation, said: “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 software used in the smart glasses, dubbed A.Consult, was developed by Concept Health.

Farhan Amin, founder of Concept Health, said: “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.”

Becky Birchall, a clinical nurse specialist, said her team is thrilled to be the first in the country to take the devices on community visits.

“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," she said.

NHS England awarded the Trust £400,000 to test the technology as part of a wider innovation project, which is set to fund a further 16 pilot projects over the coming months.

The pilot scheme will start with 250 patients, before being rolled out to thousands more patients if it succeeds.