Brief Summary of Google Glass in Medicine

Google is letting several people “play” with Google Glass. I know of two people at my institution who are trying it out.  Since I don’t have Google Glass(es) and I don’t have a real need for them right now other than playing with them and obsessively worrying about breaking them (there is a reason I buy cheap sunglasses).  I thought I would summarize some of things the medical/technical people testing Glass have said. 

John Sharp at eHealth
John works at the Cleveland Clinic.  He had three days with Google Glass and his thoughts are:

  • Voice command takes some getting used to
  • Menu gets some getting used to
  • Nice to be hands free browsing, taking videos/photos -camera quality excellent
  • Possiblity for healthcare – Physicians receive alert on patients lab results via Glass
  • Network access for surfing is currently problematic. Need an available wireless network or an open network that does not require authentication. Alternative is to connect using your phone’s bluetooth (wifi) or  enable your phone as a wireless hotspot (dataplan!)
  • Messages are alerts are short and limited text to fit on tiny screen/glass
  • Permissions/privacy concerns because you don’t know somebody is filming using Glass

John Halamka at Life As a CIO
Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center briefly describes Google Glass and how it works and lists 5 potential uses.

  • Google Glass basics: (He calls it basically an Android cell phone without the cellular transmitter.)
  • Can run Android apps (Krafty thought: Candy Crush andyone?)
  • Videos displayed at half HD resolution
  • Sound uses bone conduction only wearer can hear it (Krafty note: I am very familiar with this method, there is an underwater MP3 player that uses the same technology.)
  • Has motion sensitive accelerometer for gestural commands
  • Right temple is touch pad but also has microphone for voice commands
  • Battery lasts about a day

Potential uses:

  • Meaningful Use Stage 2 for hospitals- Screen shows picture of patient and medication on Glass to nurse who is about to administer the drug to ensure that she has correct patient and medication. (Krafty thought: The movie Terminator is coming to mind and I can imagine the the nurse “scanning the room” and it flashes on patient and does face recognition with ID bracelet confirmation then scans the barcode of the medication and gives a green screen if it is right or red screen if it is wrong. But according to this post facial recognition apps are currently banned.)
  • Clinical documentation – provide real time video of the patient/doctor encounter. 
  • Emergency Department Dashboards – ER doc puts on Google Glass and looks at patient and it does a “tricorder” like scan of patient providing vital signs, triage details, nurse documentation, lab results, etc. John states “At BIDMC, we hope to pilot such an application this year.”  (Krafty thought: Dude  that is the Terminator screen up display that I am thinking of.)
  • Decision Support – Google glass would retrieve the appropriate decision support for the patient in question and visually sees a decision tree that incorporates optimal doses of medications, the EKG of the patient, and vital signs. 
  • Alerts and Reminders – Communication, emails, phone calls, calendar, etc.  

Timothy Aungst and Iltifat Husain at iMedicalApps
I can’t tell from the post whether they tried one out or whether they were just coming up with usage scenarios.  They provides a lot of scenarios (too many to list here) so I just thought I would mention a few that I think stand out. There is also a lively discussion in the comments section.

  • EMS Responder at an accident has Google Glass on and transmits live stream to ER department status of patients and the traumas for each patient enabling the ER to better prepare for the patients upon arrival.
  • A cardiologist in a cath lab overlays the fluoroscopy as they perform a femoral catheterization for a patient with a recent myocardial infarct.
  • A physical therapist can see past sessions with a patient from previous recordings, overlaying their current range of motion, identifying changes as well as progression.
  • Any healthcare professional could walk up to a patient’s bed and instantly see all their vitals such as pulse, BP, O2 Sats, etc.

Dr. Rafael Grossmann @ZGJR Blog
Has several very interesting posts on his current use of Google Glass treatpatients. He is not only using it in medical scenarios but also with real patients.

There are a lot of people in library land writing posts about Google Glass and its potential impact on libraries.  I don’t know of a librarian who has tried them (if there is one let me know) and asside from iMedicalApps I chose to focus on those who have actually tried them.  A future post will look at the potential of Google Glass in libraries.

 

 

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