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Mount Sinai health care workers team up with Google Nest

May 11th, 2020

Editor’s note: This story is a guest authored by Robbie Freeman, MSN, RN-BC, who works at Mount Sinai in New York. 

As the person responsible for Mount Sinai’s clinical innovation, over the years I’ve been tasked with spearheading initiatives that leverage technology, AI and data science to improve the quality of patient care and safety. Our health systems in New York—and across the world—have been devastated by the impact of the Coronavirus.

For the last several months, our team has been put to the test and faced unforeseen challenges and heartbreak. The rapidly moving situation was made even direr because of the rising number of critical patients, the government mandate to ramp up bed capacity, and the need to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE).

We needed to find a way to give caregivers the ability to check on and communicate with patients that could supplement in-person checks, also helping reduce the use of PPE. Together with Google, we explored how to build a Nest Camera experience that would help health care workers more efficiently care for patients and preserve PPE.

Starting this week, we began installing two Nest Cameras in more than a hundred rooms being used to help Coronavirus patients⁠—in most rooms one will be used to monitor and communicate with patients and the other will monitor their vitals. Video from the cameras will be live-streamed to a purpose-built console located in Mount Sinai nurse stations (Google will not store this footage or have access to it). This purpose-built console was designed to aid health care workers; it allows for monitoring patients, tracking vitals, and talking with the patients. Now that health care providers can help patients from their stations, it saves both time and PPE.

We worked together for several weeks to create a solution designed to adhere to current regulatory guidelines, HIPAA, and other legal and regulatory requirements. Every minute saved by remotely monitoring the patients can be offered to assist another person in need. It’s extremely fulfilling to see our work make a difference in the lives of our patients, their families, and our hospital staff.

While Mount Sinai was the first hospital to work with Google, we won’t be the last. Google is working to provide 10,000 Nest Cams with the purpose-built console to hospitals across the country. We’re grateful to see a decline in the number of new patients. We’re lucky to have partnered quickly with the Nest team at Google to help our staff deliver the type of care needed for so many right now.