To help doctors monitor COVID-19 victims, Google is providing 10,000 Nest Cams to hospitals

Nest Cam
Nest Cam (Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google is working on providing 10, 000 Nest Cams to healthcare providers amid the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The first provider to take advantage of this is Mount Sinai.
  • Google says these Nest Cams are HIPAA compliant and will help save in PPE costs.

Google is planning to provide up to 10, 000 Nest Cams to healthcare providers to aid the current response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With these Nest Cams, nurses and doctors will be able to check in on patients, supplementing in-person checks. This means there will be a reduction of physical contact, and therefore less of a need for personal protection equipment (PPE), which has fast become a scare resource.

Robbie Freeman, a registered nurse at Mount Sinai explained on Monday:

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 livestreamed 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.

This system is said to be compliant with privacy regulations such as HIPAA, preserving patent data, as well as "other legal and regulatory requirements."

Aside from helping in the medical field, Google has also set aside funds to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside Apple, the tech firm built up a contact tracing solution to help aid steps out of the current spate of global lockdowns. With both contact tracing and the Nest Cam solution, however, Google needs to rebuild a reputation as a privacy concerned company due to the sensitive nature of both projects. It's not going to be an easy task, but one that should remain at the forefront of all such efforts.

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