In a first, doctors at the Rhode Island Hospital have experimented with Google Glass to gauge the effectiveness, security and patient acceptance of a real-time skin consultation.
For the patients who qualified for the trial, the emergency department physicians at the Rhode Island Hospital used the eyeglasses with a computer, camera and microphone built into the frame to contact a dermatologist through a video link using Glass.
Later, patients were surveyed about their experience with teledermatology.
"While the patients prefer in-person visits, they said they preferred the video consultation over a more widely practiced telephone consult," said Paul S Porter, principal investigator.
For patients, a fast and accurate diagnosis means a faster path to satisfactory treatment.
"A device like this democratises telemedicine because a hospital can start a programme with little money and gain access to an experience that was only previously available at a much higher price point," Porter added.
Because of the interactive nature of the device, the teledermatologists were able to appreciate both non-specific skin eruptions and skin diseases.
Additionally, the off-site doctors were able to interact with the on-site doctors by asking questions and requesting additional skin locations to examine.
During the process of informed consent, medical staff explained to patients that no information was stored, and the live transmission was encrypted.
The participants overwhelmingly believed that their privacy was protected.
Rhode Island Hospital was the first hospital in the US to test Google Glass in an emergency department setting.
The earlier study began in March 2014 and concluded after six months.
The results were published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.