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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Privacy Chair Kirk Nahra Discusses Potential Impact of Google Glass

July 29, 2013

Kirk J. Nahra, chair of Wiley Rein’s Privacy Practice, was quoted in a July 26 GigaOm article about the impact Google Glass—and the new technology surrounding its impending release—could have on the health care industry.

Glass is being developed by Google to be a computer that is worn as eyewear, with Google’s hope that it will launch the next generation of hands-free devices. While a release date, and a price tag, have yet to be announced for the product, computer developers are already pushing to release apps that can be used with Glass.

GigaOm, a technology blog, reports that surgeons and other medical professionals are eager to incorporate the device into their practices. The new technology could allow for the faster relay of information and easier communication, allowing doctors to make quicker decisions about the treatment of patients.

While the potential to improve health care is significant, Glass could present compliance issues for health care providers under the new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules, Mr. Nahra told GigaOm.  Specifically, should apps developed for Glass use Google’s cloud technology, hospitals that employ the device could be in violation of new HIPAA regulations related to business associate agreements.

However, Mr. Nahra said this is no different than other new technologies.  “It’s like any other development,” he said. “It has a different feel and you have to think through how you’re going to protect it.”