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Patients Don’t Mind If the Doc Wears Google Glass

Would you make an appointment with a doctor sporting computerized eyewear?
August 9, 2013

Patients don’t mind being their doctor wearing Google Glass–at least, not according to data gathered by Augmedix, a startup that is using the head-worn computer to cut down on the time doctors spend doing non-patient-facing tasks like taking notes and looking at medical-record information.

During a talk at startup incubator Rock Health’s Health Innovation Summit in San Francisco on Friday, Augmedix cofounder and CEO Ian Shakil said that of 200 patients asked before a visit if they minded seeing a doctor wearing Google’s head-worn gadget, only 3 demurred. While not that surprising a revelation given Augmedix’s mission, it could indicate that, despite some characterizing Glass wearers as “glassholes,” the device may be seen as acceptable–and even helpful–in professional situations.

Augmedix is just one of many trying to come up with a “killer app” for Google Glass (see “Will Anyone Create a Killer App for Google Glass?”). The device is not yet available for purchase by the general public (that is expected next year), but Google has offered a handful of them to select software developers for $1,500 apiece.

Though he’s not ready to give many specifics about precisely how Augmedix is using Glass to help doctors, Shakil spoke of how doctors spend about a quarter of their day on office tasks such as reimbursement and note-taking. He believes the hardware features of Glass–it’s projected display, microphones, and camera–can help get these things done.

Shakil said during his talk that while Augmedix is testing its software with Google Glass (it currently has four Glass units being tried out by doctors), the company is “hardware agnostic” and open to working with other wearable devices. “Our focus is really rehumanizing the doctor-patient interaction,” he said.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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