Due to health concerns, medical personnel require personal protective equipment (PPE) when tending to patients. With rising Covid-19 cases and an anticipated second wave of outbreaks, PPE continues to be in short supply. Wearable technologies such as smart glasses can be used to address this ongoing issue.

A study was conducted by University Malaya Specialist Centre (USMC) in the Neurosurgery ICU using smart glasses produced by Vuzix Corporation, a leading supplier of associated technologies, as well as augmented reality (AR) technology. Their goal was to determine whether using such technologies to deliver telemedicine was an effective method of conducting ward rounds on patients during the pandemic. In the study, a random pair of neurosurgery residents and specialists conducted both virtual and physical ward rounds on 103 patients. They achieved excellent overall intra-rater reliability and a high satisfaction rate.

This study confirmed that “virtual ward rounds using telemedicine via Vuzix M400 Smart Glasses on neurosurgical patients in critical care was feasible, effective and widely accepted as an alternative to physical ward rounds during the Covid-19 pandemic.” In short, such technologies allow physicians to treat and monitor their patients while keeping them safe and conserving PPE.

With a growing population of technology users, there is now an emphasis on patient-centred care that is becoming more dependent on wearable technologies. The use of smart glasses is a natural development that is expected to become vastly more popular in the near future. If used wisely, patients and physicians can improve the quality of their time and save on other resources.

The industry is growing fast – once worth just $374M in 2019, GlobalData expects the global smart glasses market to reach $2.3B by 2030. More than three-quarters of the market revenue comes from enterprises, with Google accounting for 50% of the global enterprise smart glasses market in 2019.

While Covid-19 has claimed more than one million lives, there are some positives to take away: the pandemic may be the spark that ignites the wide adoption of revolutionary technology such as smart glasses in healthcare.