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NYC’s Mount Sinai Hospital using Google Nest to monitor coronavirus patients

Mount Sinai, one of New York City’s hospitals hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, is using Google’s Nest cameras to monitor patients while limiting the exposure of its workers to the virus.

The health care giant has partnered with Google to install Nest Cams in the rooms of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, to help workers better monitor vital signs and reduce the exposure of first responders.

The hospital began installing two cameras in each patient’s room this past week. One Nest camera will be used to check vital signs while the other will be used to communicate with the patient.

“Video from the cameras will be livestreamed to a purpose-built console located in Mount Sinai nurse stations,” said Robbie Freeman, Mount Sinai’s vice president of clinical innovations, in a blog post.

Freeman said the cameras will let the hospital conserve its protective equipment for nurses, keeping them — and nurses — safer.

“It enhances safety for patients because we can keep an eye on everyone from the nursing station, and for our staff, it minimizes the frequency of time spent in-room with COVID-19 patients,” Freeman said.

A Mount Sinai spokesperson tells Digital Trends the healthcare system currently has about 100 cameras up and running. While they did not address questions about security precautions to guard patient privacy against possible hackers gaining access to the cameras, the spokesperson did say Mount Sinai sees a long term potential in using Nest cameras to monitor patients.

“As we monitor the situation and plan for surges, we expect this to be a solution that can be easily ramped up for COVID sites,” said spokesperson Stacy Anderson. “There is potential for this technology to be applied to additional use cases and care settings post the COVID-19 crisis.”

Google will not store the footage from the cameras or have access to it, ensuring patient privacy. The tech giant has vowed to provide 10,000 Nest Cams to Mount Sinai and other health care facilities around the country to assist with patient monitoring.

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