Mention remote patient monitoring, and most of us immediately think of a device that sends data regarding an offsite patient to an in-clinic healthcare team. The Mount Sinai Health System and Google, however, have a different take on the idea of remote patient monitoring. The Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC has installed more than 100 Google Nest Cams that allow nurses, doctors, and other professionals to safely monitor large groups of hospital patients from an onsite station.

Designed to help protect healthcare workers as they continue to care for thousands of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, the Mount Sinai Nest Cams work with a custom-designed console, also made by Google. Nest Cam, a home security camera that interfaces with Google’s smart home system, has topped consumer “Best Of” lists in recent years.

The hospital Nest Cams feature HD video, two-way audio, enhanced night vision, and recording capabilities (Google won’t save or have access to any recordings). The cameras are mounted two per room; one gives a view of the patient while the other monitors vital signs. The cameras connect to the console at a team workstation, allowing providers to monitor and communicate with patients without entering the room.

The system at Mount Sinai reduces the risk of providers contracting COVID-19 and other diseases; it also helps conserve PPE so that the hospital can save those supplies for medically necessary provider-patient interactions.

Google is preparing to install 10,000 more Nest Cams with consoles at hospitals across the US. The Mount Sinai Hospital system prototype could indeed provide more traditional remote patient monitoring. One possibility involves at-home hospital care. If Nest Cams can successfully keep sick patients home without affecting care quality, it could enhance patient comfort and significantly reduce the risk of infection for frontline health workers.