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SXSW Interactive 2015

Wearables in Healthcare: Fad or GAME-CHANGER?

Google Glass, Epson's Moverio, Thalmic Lab's Myo band, and Smartwatches are taking the medical community by storm! The Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess has had a live pilot of Google Glass in their ER since fall 2014 that also combines artificial intelligence and machine learning. Brigham and Women's Hospital has a working Wearable Glass EMR prototype that was coded by an in-house nephrologist now just waiting for IRB approval. The American College of Surgeons is putting together recommended curriculum for Wearables in Surgery. The first ever WATCH (Wearable Technology in Healthcare Society) Society was created and is about to have its first ever conference, "The Future of Wearable Tech in Healthcare." MedTech Boston is about to publish "Glass in Healthcare Best Practices" guide.

But are these fads? Or are wearables here to stay? Why are they game-changers? What hurdles are clinicians and developers having in the implementation? How do we solve these problems?

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  1. What wearables are clinicians and healthcare app developers actually using? What pilots are happening? What pilots are planned? What are the outcomes? Are we finding hard endpoints (better efficiency, better care, decreased costs, greater satisfaction) with pilots using wearables in the healthcare setting (hospital, clinic, rehab, discharge settings)?
  2. What are the special development issues surrounding wearables in the healthcare setting? How are we handling security, safety, HIPAA compliance, privacy, storage, data security, encryption, and BAA (Business Associate Agreement)? How do you get an IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval for a study? Do you need an IRB for a pilot? Has anyone successfully gotten a BAA with Google? Or do you need to go with a company like Pristine who will sign a BAA with you?
  3. How important is it for a wearable technology to incorporate into the Electronic Medical Record (EMR)? If it is important, how do you handle user authentication, QR code scanning for patient identification, etc?
  4. Is Wearables going to be a game-changer for clinicians? Will this finally unshackle the physician from the work station and allow them to see more patient with tailored, streamlined point of care patient information that allows them to make faster and more precision decisions with far fewer mistakes? If so, how much money will this save the healthcare system? Will this potentially even save lives?
  5. How will wearables affect the patient-physician relationship? Some hospital systems, such as the VA hospital, have already banned the use of Google Glass in all their hospitals? Why is this? Is this because patients are intolerant of seeing a doctor wear Google Glass? Are administrators intolerant of patients wearing Google Glass? Will wearables be just another barrier between the patient and physician? Or will it enhance the relationship?



Jennifer Joe, CEO, Medstro.com

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Health and Medtech
  • Level: Intermediate
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