• Google and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York have teamed up amid the coronavirus pandemic for a partnership that involves using Nest Cams to remotely monitor patients.
  • The benefit is that this frees up health care workers from having to be in close contact with the patients as much, which also will save on the use of protective equipment.
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Doctors and nurses are being rightfully recognized as the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic for being on the front lines of the crisis and potentially putting themselves in harm’s way, risking their health whenever they come into close contact with the COVID-19 patients they have to check up on and provide urgent care for.

Multiply that by some multiple that encompasses the numerous patient interactions that occur each day at hospitals around the country, not to mention the much-in-demand protective equipment they have to wear to do so, and you begin to see the cost associated with this risk. This is why Google has teamed up with one New York hospital on a system that uses technology to make remote monitoring of coronavirus patients possible, curbing the risk to health workers and preserving their valuable protective gear in the process.

In a company blog post on Monday penned by Mount Sinai registered nurse Robbie Freeman, he writes that this week sees the launch of a new project which entails installing a pair of Nest Cameras in more than 100 rooms at Mount Sinai being used to treat coronavirus patients.

“In most rooms,” he writes, “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).”

Image source: Google

That console, he continues, was designed specifically to aid health care workers. It allows patients to be remotely monitored, in addition to tracking their vitals and being able to talk to patients, as well.

According to Freeman, Google and Mount Sinai have been working together for several weeks now to create this solution so that it followed current regulatory guidelines, HIPAA requirements, and other legal frameworks. “Every minute saved by remotely monitoring the patients can be offered to assist another person in need,” he writes. “It’s extremely fulfilling to see our work make a difference in the lives of our patients, their families, and our hospital staff.”

Not only that, but Mount Sinai is just the first of what will be additional subjects of this partnership. Google is also working to provide 10,000 Nest Cams with the purpose-built console to hospitals across the country. Google says the basic requirements that a hospital must meet in order to participate include having a Wi-Fi network with WPA2 encryption, as well as a G Suite account, and robust monitoring stations that can accommodate multiple camera feeds with live video.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.