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Medical student-turned-entrepreneur harnesses Google Glass to improve doctor-patient relationship

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When third-year Stanford medical student Pelu Tran began clinical rotations and started caring for patients in the summer of 2012, he experienced firsthand how paperwork, documentation and billing coding can leave "little time for the patient-physician relationship.” He shared his frustrations with Biodesign classmate and Stanford MBA graduate Ian Shakil and, after the pair tested out an early version of Google Glass, the solution became clear: develop a platform based on the wearable technology that automates the record-keeping process for doctors.

Tran, who was recently named to Forbes’ “30-Under-30: Healthcare," and Shakil founded Augmedix and have raised a total of $23 million in venture capital funding. A story published today in Inside Stanford Medicine explains how the company has dramatically cut the number of hours doctors spend on record keeping:

Contracting with Google Glass, Augmedix provides the much-publicized internet-connected headgear, which looks and feels like a pair of eye glasses, to doctors on a monthly subscription basis. Physicians wear the headgear during appointments with patients and use verbal cues to instantly access a patient’s electronic medical records and transcribe the doctor-patient conversation. A thumbnail-sized screen appears in the corner of the right eye of the device, which also has a camera and a microphone. The visit gets live streamed directly to Augmedix, which then uses a combination of software and human support to type notes into the patient’s electronic medical records. When the doctor’s visit is complete, so is the record-keeping.


According to Tran, physicians who use the service have been able to reduce the number of hours spent record keeping from an average of 17 a week down to just two — or even fewer. “It literally changes the lives of the doctors we work with,” he said. “They’re getting back 15-hours a week to spend with family, with friends, with patients, to provide care. That is the whole point.”

The service is currently available for use in 35 clinics across 11 states and growing. Although Google recently announced that it will stop selling Glass to consumers, the company will continue to contract with companies such as Augmedix that have a specialized use for the technology.

Previously: Using Google Glass to help individuals with autism better understand social cues, Using Google Glass to improve quality of life for Parkinson's patients and Abraham Verghese uses Google Glass to demonstrate how to begin a patient exam
Photo courtesy of Augmedix

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