What can Google Glass do for medicine?

March 13, 2013

A quick look around the Web reveals that most in the medical field view Google Glass with lots of optimism, believing that it holds the potential to increase efficiency, reduce medical errors, help educate students, and enhance collaboration and teamwork among medical providers.

Depending on whom you believe, Google Glass is poised to either usher in a wonderful new era of mobile computing, gets its users beaten up at bars, or be an overhyped failure like the Apple Newton.

But what doctors, medical students, and health information technology professionals are wondering is: What does Google Glass mean for medicine?

A quick look around the Web reveals that most in the medical field view Google Glass with lots of optimism, believing it holds the potential to increase efficiency, reduce medical errors, help educate students, and enhance collaboration and teamwork amongst medical providers.

Here are a few ways Google Glass-with its wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, camera, voice-activation commands, and heads-up display-could make a difference in medicine:

Rapid emergency interventions: Emergency technicians arriving on the scene of an accident could stream live video back to a hospital's emergency department (ED), helping doctors there assess the severity of a patient's trauma and prepare a treatment plan before the patient's arrival in the ED, according to iMedicalApps.

Real-time diagnostic assistance: Armed with personalized patient data from medical records, Glass could someday feature an artificial intelligence layer that recognizes visual cues and symptoms specific to a patient's medical history, helping doctors more quickly recognize abnormalities and reshaping how physicians assess and manage their patients, accruing to Pharma Forward.

Reduce hospital admissions: Like other remote patient-monitoring technologies, Glass could enable doctors to check the status of a patient with a chronic condition, boosting the speed of treatment delivery, reducing costs associated with hospital visits, and alerting physicians to key changes in the patient's vital signs. This scenario would involve a home health worker or family member wearing Glass and streaming video back to the patient's physician.

Enhance medical education: A resident could stream his or her physical exam of a patient to an attending physician, who would provide feedback on the work and advise in real-time of questions to ask the patient. Similarly, Glass also could be extremely effective in educating students about surgical procedures, allowing them to essentially view a procedure through an experienced surgeon's eyes.

Facilitate the rise of Patient-Centered Medical Homes: PCMHs are all about provider teamwork and collaboration, and Glass could help primary care physicians and specialists share patient data, communicate in real-time about a patient's treatment plan, and reduce the need for patients to be shuttled between different providers, according to InCrowd.

Do you have your own ideas of how Google Glass could benefit healthcare? Tweet them along with the hashtag #ifihadglass.

 

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