Wit-Gele Kruis is a well-known home care nursing service provider in Flanders (Belgium). They offer a wide array of home nursing services to approximately 150 000 patients all across Flanders, which comes down to almost 18 000 000 home care visits per year. Aging population and increasing demand for home care and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic, have made the organization search for innovative solutions for more efficiency and better patient care. As an introduction to telemedicine, this led to a pilot with the Iristick smart glasses for remote medical assistance with promising results.
Wit-Gele Kruis got in touch with us through the ‘Extended Reality’ project organized by Vlaio, giving organizations the opportunity to thoroughly explore the application possibilities of XR. In light of this project, they trialed remote medical assistance for specific technical care. In these situations, the care provider or nurse would require a certain level of technical expertise, training, and skills. From wound care to infusion pump procedures, to mere patient follow up, what used to be a two man’s job (often a nurse in training would be accompanied by an experienced nurse during patient visits) can now be executed by one single person thanks to remote assistance.
Sharon Delabie, nursing mentor at Wit-Gele Kruis: “We already took a couple of tests and both the nurses and the patients were enthusiast. It’s a strong example of innovation with a lot of potential. When you are at a patients’ home and you face a problem, you can set up a direct call to the reference nurse for wound care for example. For new or less experienced nurses, it is definitely a plus. Also, other partners in the treatment of a certain patient can join the video call in real-time, like for instance a wound care specialist who can immediately evaluate the urgency of a situation. It all contributes to better care for the patient at home.“
How does remote assistance for home care nurses work exactly?
Wit-Gele Kruis nursing personnel visit patients at home with a pair of smart glasses and connect to the ‘back-office’, where a more experienced care provider assists the nurse on-site from a distance. As the Iristick smart glasses are equipped with a powerful zoom lens, voice-commands, and a camera, the nurse at the patient’s home can easily video stream what she is seeing in real-time to the back-office. Hence, the latter can carefully follow the actions of the nurse on-site and give feedback on how to execute specific, technical actions, whenever needed.
For specific guidance, the nurse wearing the glasses can rely on the small display in the right lens, where step-by-step instructions can be projected. Moreover, by wearing smart glasses, the nurse has both hands free to perform care procedures and fully focus on the patient. It is also possible to invite a third party (e.g. wound care specialist) in the call to follow the procedures and provide expertise, resulting in overall better patient care.
By collaborating remotely with the back-office, higher quality of home care in general is being secured. In this regard, instant support and feedback for medical procedures, second opinions, and faster registration options (eg taking photos for a medical file) all contribute to a stronger focus on the patient. As nurses/care providers have both hands free, they experience optimal interaction with the patient and less stressful working conditions. It goes without saying that this remote assistance pilot has marked its spot within the current health care landscape and we are more than happy to be part of this innovative journey.
Watch the video of WTV on how our smart glasses are helping Wit Gele Kruis.