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Google Glass-focused startup raises funds, joining others bringing Glass to healthcare


By Darius Tahir
Posted: August 25, 2014 - 2:15 pm ET
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Startup tech firm Wearable Intelligence, which has already garnered attention for using Google Glass in healthcare, has raised nearly $7.9 million of a planned $8.37 million funding round, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The San Francisco-based firm hopes to use Glass' ability to transmit and display information for use in vital signs and medical history display, and the transmission of short videos. Wearable already boasts a partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

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John Halamka, Beth Israel's chief information officer, wrote in an April blog post announcing the partnership, that he'd used Wearable Intelligence's product to good effect with a patient suffering a massive brain bleed.

“We must often assess and mitigate life threats before having fully reviewed a patient's previous history. Google Glass enabled me to view this patient's allergy information and current medication regimen without having to excuse myself to login to a computer, or even lose eye contact,” he wrote.

Glass is analogous to a monocle with a computer display inside a plastic eye-covering. The product can display visual information from a computer, but also can record video and take pictures.

Wearable Intelligence has an array of heavyweights backing the firm. Among them: Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Google; Andreessen Horowitz, a fund run by former entrepreneurs Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, and Ben Horowitz, who ran an enterprise software firm; and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which has been an early funder of firms such as Google, Amazon.com, Genentech and Sun Microsystems.

A host of startups is attempting to use Google Glass in healthcare. Among them are drchrono, which is displaying EHR information on Glass; Pristine, which is using Glass for video transmission and checklist adherence; Remedy, which is allowing doctors to consult remote specialists; and Augmedix, another firm trying to make EHR viewing and documentation easier.

“Doctors are spending 30, 40% of their time on the computer instead of taking care of the patient,” Augmedix's Chief Product Officer, Pelu Tran, said in a June interview. The hope, he said, is that Augmedix and Glass's ability to display information and automate documentation would allow doctors to spend more time directly interacting with patients.

“Technology should be unobtrusive—(it) shouldn't disrupt the patient visit,” he concluded.

Follow Darius Tahir on Twitter: @dariustahir


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