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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center team testing new tool

Karen Lippert/WCVB

BOSTON — Doctors at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have a new tool in the high tech doctor’s bag.

A handful of physicians at BIDMC are testing Google Glass. It’s wearable technology that allows the physician to access medical records without booting up a computer.

Dr. Steven Horng began beta testing the device last December.

“The grand challenge of health has always been delivering the right info to the right person at at the right time and Google Glass finally allows us to do that. It’s wearable, it’s on you, it’s on all the time. And you can get information about a patient while never losing eye contact with them,” he said.

The pilot program has now expanded to include eight or more physicians in the emergency department.

Horng said last January a patient came in with bleeding on the brain.

“All he could say was he was allergic to something … not sure which medication. Without having to miss a step, without having to excuse ourselves, I could just look it up and say, ‘Oh, you’re allergic to this blood pressure medication. Let’s give you another instead.’ We actually found out more information and that’s what I think the value of wearable technology is — to have the right information at the critical time,” Horng said.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center used a third party to modify the prototypes so all information remains within the hospital and is not shared with Google or anyone else.

“We’re fully integrated with our electronic medical records securely so nothing leaves our hospital intranet,” Horng said.

Google Glass is being tested in a few other hospitals across the country. Horng is looking to the future hoping doctors will use technology “to do real-time decision support at the bedside, right at the bedside, right as we’re talking to the patient. That’s something we’ve been envisioning in health IT for a long time. It’s something that we hope this platform allows us to finally do.”