LOUISVILLE, Ky - The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the expansion of telehealth, and as part of that expansion, faculty at the University of Louisville are piloting new smart glasses for advanced delivery of health care.

Long-term care (LTC) facilities and emergency departments represent two of the areas with the greatest need for the glasses for direct physician care during the pandemic. The UofL Traeger Institute, emergency medicine, and psychiatry are part of a feasibility study to test the Vuzik M4000 smart glasses.

An advanced practice nurse practitioner or other health care professional working at an LTC facility will put on the web-connected glasses and dial-in with an attending physician through the Zoom conference platform. A camera and microphone are attached to the glasses, and the technology has the potential to display and obtain information for the physician to access remotely. The physician can see and interact directly with the LTC resident, providing immediate consolation and evaluation.

The specs allow for ease of mobility and hands-free interaction for the on-site provider, an advantage over current standard telehealth delivery which requires computers and monitors to be transported from bed-to-bed on large carts. Additionally, data can be input into medical records hands-free and can be controlled by voice commands.

Smart glasses will support health care workers at five LTC facilities and one emergency department in Kentucky. UofL researchers will conduct a feasibility study related to the use of these pairs of smart glasses.

If the data is promising, the study will be extended. Once the pandemic has subsided, researchers hope to investigate the utility of usage for medical education.