When the news first leaked about Google Glass a few years ago, it was pretty hard to imagine that such a device would turn out to be more than an entertaining gadget. But now that Google Glass is being tested by prospective users, medical professionals are taking the device very seriously and, if you become a patient needing heavy-duty medical care, you will be taking it seriously too.
Google Glass: image via techradar.com
What Is Google Glass?
Google Glass, for those of you that are not familiar with it, is a voice-activated, hands-free computing system perched on a modified eyeglass frame that sits on the bridge of your nose like eyeglasses. It enables you to be connected to the web at all times through your iPhone or an Android device. You can take photos, videos, send texts, and communicate with others via Google+ Hangouts. What's more you can call up any piece of data, text, email, video, or photo with your voice alone.
Here is a short promotional video for Google Glass....
Google Glass Will Provide Consultation To Medical Providers In Real Time
Now, we get to a more serious side of Google Glass - its medical applications. Think about a surgeon in Boston consulting another surgeon operating on a patient
in Seattle, or in Mozambique for that matter. Yes, this can be done without Google Glass now, but not
hands free, and not with the ability to call up and share all of the patient's medical records with the consultant during surgery. These make all the difference to the immediate needs of the medical practitioner and the patient.
Below is one of the first surgeries conducted utilizing a Google Glass consultation at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center in August, 2013.
Think about the ability of an emergency medical technician (EMT) to bring an emergency doctor, via Google Glass, right into the home of a patient who needs medical attention before he can even be transported to a hospital. In the short video below, a nurse practitioner demonstrates using Google Glass to consult a doctor on an emergency procedure.
Google Glass Will Enhance Education And Training Of Health Care Providers
During both of the above procedures using Google Glass, medical students and other healthcare workers watched the demonstrations on their computers in remote locations. As one medical student expressed, the experience of watching the surgery on his computer was more 'hands on' than if he had been watching it in, or through the window of, an operating room. On his screen, he could actually see what was going on in the patient's wound in real time.
In addition, through Google+ Hangouts, the roles of other medical staff can be observed by trainees throughout the world who would not themselves need to invest in the Glass. The sharing, indeed trading, of different approaches to care and treatment is an invaluable addition to the practitioner regardless of his or her level of education.
Google Glass Will Be A Tool To Enhance Patient Education And Relationships
Dr. Rafael Grossman, a Google Glass medical pioneer: image via rgrosssz.wordpress.com/
Google Glass affords so many ways for medical and allied personnel to communicate with a patient. Recording instructions for individual patients, demonstrating appropriate techniques to a caregiver, and sharing and explaining test results with patients and their families are just a few of the myriad of patient uses for Google Glass. Apps for Google Glass are being developed rapidly, which will result in so many uses, as yet undreamed of.
Wonder whatever happened to home visits? Google Glass makes them much more likely in the future, not only for doctors, but for other visiting medical personnel. Yes, there's nothing like the personal touch 'in person,' but consider the difference between not receiving the care you need and receiving a doctor's care or speech therapy, for example, through Google Glass.
Potential Uses For Google Glass In Patient Education: image via entrepreneur.com
Again, remember that only the medical practitioner, the person who is 'administering' the care, instructions, or education needs to wear the Glass in order to deliver medical information and instructions. The patient just needs a computer or smart phone.
While our legislators are wrestling with the problem of who gets health care, its providers are still seeking ways to make it better, and Google Glass and its apps are gearing up to help them.
sources: Healthcare IT News, Android Headlines, Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com, Google Glass, Dr. Grossman's Blog