Provide community transforms clinical and community care with RealWear smart glasses

RealWear has announced that Provide Community, an employee-owned community interest company with headquarters in Essex, UK successfully deployed RealWear smart glasses. The unique smart glasses enable real-time communication between community care clinicians and Podiatrists for clinics dispersed across the region.

Provide Community, which employs over 1,200 people across Essex, the East of England, Dorset and the North of England, serving a population of 11 million people, delivers a broad range of health and social care services and works from a variety of community settings, such as  community hospitals, community clinics, residential care homes and primary care settings, as well as within peoples’ homes.

Through its internal Innovation Tree initiative, Provide Community encourages ideas from across the entire workforce with an emphasis on service transformation. Through the innovation tree a clinical member of the team presented an idea for wearable technology to support real-time communication between individual staff and wider teams to support delivery of care in communities. Further exploration with the clinical teams established opportunities within Community Nursing to reduce two person and repeat visits.

Prior to deploying RealWear smart glasses, following a preliminary visit and patient assessment, team members had to schedule a follow up appointment with a more senior clinician to accompany them. The new solution enables clinicians to video stream appointments in real-time with colleagues and receive immediate support from them. While primarily used as a two-way video collaboration solution with a front-facing camera to let the remote person see through the eyes of the smart glasses’ wearer, the hands-free solution also has the ability to take photos of the patients by simply saying, “Take Photo.” Once taken the photos are transferred immediately to the remote clinician’s computer for further analysis and advice.

Provide Community currently has deployed 35 RealWear Navigator® 500 smart glasses. Users can navigate the device without the use of their hands, with no tethered wires for safety. The device offers third-party apps and other cloud-based services with a rugged and comfortable design. The voice-controlled user interface includes unique noise-cancelling technology for high-noise environments, enabling seamless communication between teams of healthcare professionals.

This initiative led to collaboration with Provide Community’s podiatry team to primarily focus on supporting recently qualified podiatrists and junior team members. Recruiting or attracting experienced podiatrists is a challenge and prior to the RealWear deployment in-person supervision for junior / recently qualified team members was necessary.  Experienced podiatrists being required to physically travel to a site to offer the direct support for less experienced podiatrists was fraught with practicality issues, including the potential need for clinic rescheduling and cancellations, This realisation prompted the idea of utilising headsets, enabling them to provide virtual support. This eliminated the need for in-person presence and reduces the requirement for an additional appointment for the patient. Anyone could join a call from any location, ensuring clinics ran smoothly.

The introduction of RealWear smart glasses has expanded the podiatry team’s skill set with the majority of new learners now being supported through the use of smart glasses and speaking with experienced professionals via a video call. The deployment has resulted in an increase in reach and capacity of experienced podiatrists in the team by 50%, and the same level of care can be provided while maintaining safety, effectiveness, satisfaction and avoiding delays.

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