Could smartglass rehumanize the physician patient relationship?

An interview with Pelu Tran, co-founder of Augmedix, conducted by April Cashin-Garbutt, MA

How does the smartglass-based physician productivity platform Augmedix work?

Augmedix is a Google Glass-powered remote scribe service that frees doctors from 3 hours of mandated charting and documentation each day.

physician on computer patient

Before entering the exam room, a physician dons a pair of smart glasses and then proceeds to talk with patients rather than bury their head in a computer screen.

Throughout the visit, they can retrieve a patient’s medical history, call up lab notes or pharmacy records, and create chart notes of the visit in real-time.

Why could this help to rehumanize the physician patient relationship?

Augmedix essentially removes the computer keyboard from the patient visit. Instead, doctors meet face-to-face, are more attentive and able to listen to patient concerns, and in turn deliver a higher level of quality care.

What feedback have you received from physicians using Augmedix so far?

The feedback from physicians has been overwhelmingly positive. Physicians have found that use of Augmedix enhances doctor - patient interaction, reduces inefficiencies and keeps the focus on the evolving patient needs - and not technology.

Plus, Augmedix use improves EHR quality by delivering more accurate documentation and quality assurance. Finally, doctors find that less time spent charting equals more time to see additional patients and/or reclaim saved time.

Physician wearing smart glasses

How does Augmedix impact patient volume?

In addition to spending more time with each patient, providers using Augmedix are able to see up to 25% more patients each week.

What feedback have you received from patients?

Surveys done by Augmedix show a 98% patient acceptance rate -- that includes individuals across rural and urban practices, and covers young, old, male, female.

Prior to meeting with their doctor, patients are greeted at the front desk, told about Augmedix, and are given an opportunity to decline use of the service.

Physician wearing smart glasses

How accurate is the scribe service?

We use a standardized note accuracy rubric to compare our scribes’ notes to the notes of their doctors before they begin with Augmedix. Across the board, our scribes improve their doctors’ note accuracy by 10%.

How do you ensure privacy of patient data? Is this HIPAA compliant?

Yes. Augmedix is HIPAA compliant and we make enormous investments each year in our technologies and safeguards. For the past three security audits we have had performed by our health system customers, we have received the highest marks possible.

Technologically speaking, our service is encrypted end-to-end and strict operational protocols are in place to safeguard patient health information. In addition, we regularly subject our security measures to rigorous testing. Augmedix is firmly committed to respecting every patient's right to privacy.

What’s your vision for Augmedix?

We’ve seen incredible productivity gains from our doctors. As healthcare becomes more and more data-driven, there’s so much more support that doctors and patients need in the patient visit to provide quality care.

We’ve started to work with our health systems to provide the doctor with adaptive reminders at the point of care, to help them communicate with their care team, and to connect them with other technologies and resources to improve care.

What do you think the future holds for technologies such as smartglass in healthcare?

The tide is turning on technology maturity and acceptance - every year we’re seeing more enterprise-ready devices coming out from hardware manufacturers. We’re also seeing more and more use cases delivering value in enterprise, which has widened awareness and accelerated adoption.

Where can readers find more information?

Visit: Augmedix.

About Pelu Tran

Pelu Tran

One of Forbes Magazine’s Top Healthcare Leaders under 30, Pelu is the Cofounder, President, and Chief Customer Officer of Augmedix, a San Francisco-based digital health company that provides doctors a Google Glass based platform to eliminate EHR documentation and rehumanize the patient visit.

Founded in 2012, Augmedix has nearly 1000 team members and serves doctors in 32 states, including those at some of the nation's largest healthcare systems such as Sutter Health, Dignity Health, and Catholic Health Initiatives.

An engineer by training, Pelu is on leave from Stanford Medical School and guest lectures there on healthcare leadership and innovation.

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