Nurses in some parts of England will trial smart goggles on visits to patients’ home as the struggling UK National Health Service turns to digital gadgets to try and improve services.
As long as individual patients consent, the virtual reality headsets will help nurses transcribe medical records, automate administrative work, and share live footage for consults with hospital colleagues.
The goggles also come equipped with thermal imaging technology for examining wounds and injuries. The trial will be carried out in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, England, the NHS said in a statement.
The goggles, developed at a company set up by a general practitioner, are part of a £6 million ($7.1 million) effort to improve ambulance and community services care at a time when health staff, burnt out by the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic, struggle to meet mounting care demands.
Earlier this year the NHS also doled out smart watches to patients with Parkinson’s disease so that doctors can access their conditions remotely.
Community nurses are estimated to spend more than half of their day filling out forms and manually inputting patient data. The trial aims to see if the goggles will help free up time for more clinical tasks for patients, such as checking blood pressure and dressing wounds.
Years of underfunding and the incessant waves of Covid-19 outbreaks have left the NHS severely stretched. Nurses in England will be balloted soon on strike action over pay amid a soaring cost-of-living crisis.