Female provider using Augmedix

Google Glass is dead, right? Then how come Augmedix just announced $17 million in new investment from five leading healthcare systems across the U.S.? The fact is that augmented reality (AR) is finding a home at the enterprise level, and one particularly successful market is healthcare.

The Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — has many features, but one of the most important is the mandate to switch to electronic health records (EHR). Digital records offer the potential to deliver many benefits, from streamlined treatment, reduction of errors, more efficient billing, and the creation of large databases that can be mined for important health trends and treatment strategies. The problem is that EHR systems have been terrible, creating a huge push back from physicians who complain that they spend more time with a computer keyboard than with patients.

Augmedix has created a HIPAA-compliant system based on Google Glass where a medical scribe observes the patient visit remotely and takes notes while the doctor interacts with the patient. The doctor can even pull up key information from the patient’s records as needed. The notes are recorded and the doctor simply has to review the written notes and approve them. The process takes far less time than in the doctor were to enter the information, and those using the system report that the notes are more thorough and complete than what they would have entered. As a result, a physician is able to see more patients in a given period of time, while devoting complete attention to the patients instead of having to deal with a computer.

The system is already in use in almost all 50 states by physicians who see about 5,000 patients each day. The five healthcare systems that are providing financial backing have more than 100,000 healthcare providers, so the adoption of the Augmedix system is likely to grow rapidly. And technology may be able to help doctors spend more time with patients, instead of less.