It’s certainly no surprise that doctors spend loads of time with paperwork. The admin load has grown to the point that doctors typically spend nearly two hours of paperwork and record keeping for every hour with patients. A 2016 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that physician participants spent 27% of their hours in clinical face time with patients and 49.2% of their time on electronic health records (EHR) and administrative tasks. Two years ago we wrote about the HIPPA-compliant Augmedix Google Glass application designed to help doctors make more efficient use of time with EHRs.

Sutter Health, a northern California nonprofit system that comprises 24 hospitals, recently announced a collaboration with Google Cloud and Augmedix to take the next step to making healthcare more efficient. Sutter launched a pilot program with Augmedix in 2014 and is the largest deployment of the platform. More than 100 doctors in the Sutter Health network use Augmedix and Glass. During the course of the program to date, doctors have used Augmedix in hundreds of thousands of patient interactions to record patient notes. The physicians currently using Augmedix are in family and internal medicine, dermatology, podiatry, orthopedics, surgical oncology, and cardiology care. Sutter Health deems the original Augmedix pilot to be a glowing success. The group reported more accurate notes in patient charts with more detailed after-care instructions. They also measured enhanced productivity; doctors save an average of two hours a day on time spent on maintaining EHR data. In addition, the health system observed reduced physician burnout. Patient satisfaction has improved, and the doctors are happier.

The “next step” is to incorporate machine learning into the system. The first stage involves creating an inbox message triage tool to sort messages from patients. Additional plans include modules backed by AI and machine learning to upgrade, or “supercharge” scribing services in any way possible. Future modules may yield more efficiencies and happier clinicians, but the Glass Enterprise edition implementation already has scored a large win. And this is just one small example of how augmented reality (AR) technology can make healthcare deliver faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective.