Beam is an app that enables healthcare practitioners to use the Google smart glasses as a tool for collaborating on medical consultations and clinical diagnosis.
Using Google Glass in a hospital environment is nothing new. It has already proved its worth in streaming live surgical operations carried out in the United States and Spain to remote audiences for consultation or training purposes. The smart specs are now being equipped with a range of tools that add new functionality and encourage medical innovation, such as a fast diagnosis app. The most recent addition to the range is Beam, an app developed by San Francisco-based startup Remedy, whose 19-year-old co-founder, Noor Siddiqui, started out with a grant from the Thiel Fellowship, which supports US-based innovators aged under 20. Remedy’s first-ever app enables healthcare practitioners to video a medical consultation and send it through to a specialist for remote viewing and feedback.
Sharing medical advice on a secure platform
Beam enables a physician who is with the patient to take pictures and record live video and then share them on a secure platform with a specialist, who can access the content remotely by tapping in a personal identifier. "The Google Glass camera allows the specialist to see the patient through the eyes of the healthcare staff in the patient’s room," explains Noor Siddiqui. The specialist can then send back his/her diagnosis, which will be received through the glasses in asynchronous mode. Alternatively, if the case is urgent, the on-the-spot medical practitioner and the remote expert can confer through video-conferencing functionality in synchronous mode in order to determine the most appropriate treatment for the patient.
Shared consultation using Google Glass is likely to prove an excellent tool in situations where today doctors would be consulted remotely and asked to help with diagnosis and/or give treatment advice without being able to see the patient. "Medicine is a visual profession, but doctors often don't get the visual information they need to diagnose and manage patients," underlines Noor Siddiqui. Her app will certainly facilitate real-time direct collaboration in a hospital environment. "We designed Beam because providing more visual information to expert clinicians can reduce medical errors, enhance training and supervision and bring objective accuracy to medical records," she points out. The app was launched in April and is now in test phase at Harvard University Medical School.