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Smart goggles for nurses: Pioneering tech, or a waste of money?

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A trial for nurses to wear high tech smart goggles to “free up time” with patients has been criticised online – from patients who say the money is better spent on improving NHS services. 

An NHS pilot to introduce virtual reality style headsets for nurses on home visits has been met with contempt. The trial, which will allow nurses to transcribe the appointment directly to electronic records, is said to reduce admin time and “free up” time with patients.

The announcement of the project, which will be trialed by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, is said to allow nurses to share live footage with colleagues – ultimately reducing the need for further hospital visits. 

The move, which has been named as “pioneering technology” and “a cutting edge NHS pilot” has also been critisised by patients who say they would rather have better services and reduced staff shortages, and spending money on smart goggles. 

Mixed reactions

Cyril Griffith posted on social media: “Will it help my sister and family understand what is wrong with her and let the consultant have a longer holiday? 

“Focus on the real issues.”

Another post, under the name of Sir Humphrey Whittingstall, read: “Sounds great. It will come as such a comfort to my sister in law who has been waiting 3 days for someone to attend to her leaking catheter.”

Meanwhile, the trial has been praised by others who have said it will increase the time spent with patients, and will help relieve major pressures on hospitals. 

Dr Tim Ferris, NHS director for transformation, 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.

Becky Birchall, community tissue viability clinical nurse specialist at the trust, 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.

She added: “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.”

The pilot is one of 17 projects across 16 healthcare organisations to receive a share of £6million of the Digital PODAC Unified Tech Fund – which was set up by NHS England.

Tech could solve NHS issues

With the NHS in a major crisis, not just with staff shortages and lengthy waiting lists, but with vulnerability to crippling cyber attacks, technology has to be acknowledged as a potential solution. The use of artificial intelligence in healthcare is being looked upon as a great way forward to solve some of the issues currently facing the health service.

Additionally, the use of VR in mental health care, not to mention the potential for more virtual wards helping patients receive care at home – a move which is needed when we see the drastic reduction on hospital beds.

As Pritesh Mistry of The King’s Fund said: ““Until the government grasps the nettle on staff shortages and delivers a fully funded workforce strategy, the NHS will not have the capacity it needs to deliver the care patients need and deserve.”

In case you missed it:

Virtual hospital wards – desperate measures, or digital revolution?

 

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  1. Pingback: LNWH team wins international award for game changing work in cardiology

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