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BWH Google Glass: The Radically Reinvented Wearable EHR!

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Karandeep Singh, MD

What does Google Glass mean to medicine–specifically is this just a fad, or will this be a game-changer? MedTech Boston caught up with Karandeep Singh, MD, Nephrology and Informatics Fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA and leader of the hospital’s first Google Glass application. We’re excited to learn that the April 23 Google Glass Challenge will be the first time Dr. Singh will demo what he’s been working on to the public! Colleague Florian Toegel, MD, says, “Incredible! We had no idea he was working on this! He’s so brilliant.”

We know there are already companies such as Pristine harnessing the hand-free audio and video streaming capabilities of Glass to improve surgical education and telemedicine consultations. Specifically, there is proven interest in using Glass-powered telemedicine consultation in emergency response teams, the emergency room, and rural or home care.

Dr. Singh tells us he wants to “reevaluate and redesign the Electronic Health Record (EHR) to help clinicians deliver patient-centered care.” We think he has a bigger vision for Glass than any we’ve seen yet–to radically reinvent the traditional Electronic Health Record (EHR). The current EHR is designed so that everyone, patient and physician, work around it–its demand to know immunizations and smoking habits when all you really want is a blood pressure medication refill, it’s mammoth monitor screen that sits between you and the patient, and it’s red flags to correct unknown errors before printing a prescription to give to a patient. Dr. Singh says he envisions a “Wearable EHR,” one that is built around the physician’s workflow and needs.

What does this “Wearable EHR” look like to our BWH Lead Glass Developer? Dr. Singh says it will be able to do four time-saving and novel tasks.


Karandeep Singh, MD

  1. Because the system knows where you are in the hospital, it will display content that it intuitively predicts you want.

    • For example, the Wearable EHR has your full docket of 20 or so patients. When you walk by or into your patient’s room, it will know to display most recent vital signs, lab reports, and progress notes.
  2. The system will allow physicians to make focused queries that can retrieve information from multiple sources.

    • For example, “shortness of breath” is a common complaint with a generally standard investigative route. Say you walk into your patient’s room after a nurse pages you because of your patient’s new shortness of breath. You will be able to say, “Glass, Shortness of breath.” With just this one query, the Wearable EHR will display the last chest x-ray, the last arterial blood gas, and the last pulse oximetry reading along with the patient’s current oxygen requirement.
  3. The Wearable EHR will be able to link systems.

    • For example, a physician will be able to say, “Glass, start patient diet when he/she gets back from the operating room (OR).” Glass will be able to cross reference with the OR schedule and order the diet to start based on this time.
  4. The Wearable EHR would keep Task Lists for the physician.

    • Dr. Singh tells us he never wants to need to pull a piece of paper out of his pocket again. When rounding room to room on a patient, he will tell Glass the tasks needed for that patient–ie, call the patient’s daughter, order X, Y, and Z. And at the end of rounds, you can just ask Glass, “What do I need to do for Mr. Smith?”

Where is BWH in the development of Dr. Singh’s grand Wearable EHR? Dr. Singh says he has a workable prototype (and will be demoing on April 23!), and he’s working with Brigham and Women’s Hospital on security and integration.

Dr. Singh tells us he’s excited by the technology, but most importantly, he wants to focus on the research side and fully understanding how it impacts patients and physicians. Fellow nephrology colleague Dr. Kassem Safa says, “Just like House M.D., kidney experts are real intellects and pioneers in medicine. We’re excited about the potential of a re-engineered EHR!”

Connect with Dr. Singh, Dr. Toegel, and Dr. Safa on www.medstro.com!


Jennifer M. Joe, MD

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

    My passion is healthcare optimization, whether that is with innovation, making scientific discoveries, or improving delivery. I love bringing people and ideas together and making projects work. With this, medicine exists to improve lives, and I will strive to always help patients and those around me.

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