Virtual reality goggles that can transcribe patient appointments directly to electronic records are to be trialled by community nurses in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole.
The NHS pilot scheme, which is set to launch next week, aims to allow community nurses to spend more time during home visits on patients’ clinical needs and less on administrative tasks.
“These goggles will really help to cut down the time we need to keep for admin”
The Queen’s Nursing Institute said it would be “very interesting” to learn from the trial and see how beneficial the goggles may be, however it warned that “any new system needs time and investment to prove its viability in practice”.
NHS England has awarded the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust £400,00 to test the new goggles this summer as part of a wider innovation project, which includes a further 16 pilots in the coming months.
With patient consent, the virtual reality style headset can transcribe an appointment directly to electronic records and can share live patient footage with hospital colleagues to gain second opinions and help avoid further appointments or admissions, according to NHS England.
The goggles also use thermal imaging to help assess how wounds and injuries have healed and can be used by nurses to look up their next appointment that day and check how long it will take to get there based on live travel updates.
According to NHS England, community nurses are estimated to spend more than half of their day filling out forms and manually inputting data – something this trial aims to combat.
It said the pilot would help to “expand their capacity” and provide more time for clinical tasks.
Clinical nurse specialist Becky Birchall said her team were thrilled to be the first in the country to take them on community visits.
“We currently spend a considerable amount of time writing up our visits to patients and these cutting-edge goggles will really help to cut down the time we need to keep for admin, supporting us to care for our patients,” she said.
“The glasses have a thermal imaging feature, which I think will be particularly useful for us when we are examining wounds and these features are going to really help us provide the best possible care for our patients.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the QNI, said: “The possibility of emerging technology to assist community nurses is growing all the time and we have seen a steady shift away from paper-based to digital systems.
“Different people adopt new technologies in different ways and at a different pace, so any new system needs time and investment to prove its viability in practice.
“It will be very interesting to learn from this trial and see how these goggles benefit the nursing process and support good patient outcomes.”