Futuristic tech could extend lifespans, improve care quality

Google Glass is one of several technologies that could extend human lifespan.

Technology—from nanotech to DNA-fueled precision medicine to the much-hyped Google Glass—could extend human life expectancy into the triple digits, says Nicole Sirotin, chief of the internal medicine department and director of the executive health program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Patients could soon be issued "insideables," chips planted just under the skin, and "ingestibles,” tiny sensor pills. A "health check chair" could bolster efficiency by automatically and simultaneously checking patients’ vital signs while they sit, Sirotin writes in an opinion piece in The National.

“Medical staff, especially trauma specialists, can use head-mounted Google Glass technology to have hands-free access to the internet and instantaneous access to patients’ medical history, medical checklists and the availability of hospital resources,” she adds.

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Although Google’s headset technology was a dud in the consumer space, it’s shown promise in medical settings.

Dignity Health physicians at several designated health centers are using Google Glass throughout the day as they meet with patients, allowing an off-site scribe to securely see and hear what the doctor experiences in real time. “This allows the scribe to precisely document the exam in the patient's medical record, giving the physician more time to focus on the patient and not on their computer,” according to a release.

"It’s a way to improve patient experience and care quality,” says Scott Robertson, MD, chief physician executive at Dignity Health Central Coast. It “saves time, improves the quality of patient records and ensures our patients are receiving the latest and best in patient care technology,” he adds.

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Value-based care is helping to drive the trend, according to a recent post on HIStalk. Healthcare organizations are finding it improves workflow and efficiency, and can even lower the cost of care and reduce readmissions.

Google Glass has shown promise for telehealth applications, in particular.