It seems like the avalanche of news about Google Glass has abated and we can now pay more attention to the practical applications that emerge. From a medical education point of view, a description of the use of Google Glass by orthopedic surgeons caught my attention (see: Orthopaedic Surgeons at UAMC Utilize Google Glass). Also see: Google Glass surgeon's new best friend? What one surgeon is saying about tech; Google Glass Delivers New Insight During Surgery. Below is an excerpt from the story:
Surgeons Jordan Smith, MD, and Jason Wild, MD, of the University of Arizona Department of Orthopaedic Surgery were selected to be part of the Google Glass Explorer Program and have been using the technology on select patients since receiving them this past December.....As members of an academic medical center, Drs. Smith and Wild thought this opportunity a natural fit for collecting data for research as well as helping educate the next generation of surgeons....To date, the surgeons have used the glasses during 25 cases—generally the more complex cases.....[The product] also obviates the need for surgeons to look away from the surgical field at X-rays, as surgeons can simply take a picture of the X-rays with the Glass, and have that image superimposed in their direct line of sight. As the technology moves past the Explorer phase and further software is developed, surgeons will be able to collaborate or broadcast what they are seeing in the OR to colleagues, and give students a real-time look at surgical procedures. The patient’s x-ray appears right in the surgeon’s line of sight, through Google Glass. Almost complete is the set-up of a secure, Wifi network dedicated to the Google Glass...so surgeons in the OR can live stream procedures to colleagues or medical students on the secure network
Great idea! Surgeons wearing Google Glass can use the device to superimpose patient x-rays and other imaging studies in their line of sight. In addition they can also capture videos of the most difficult or most instructive portions of the procedure and live-stream them on a secure network. Obviously, patient privacy issues need to receive strict attention here but what a great opportunity for new insights about surgical cases. Here's a set of short clips of a foot procedure on YouTube that I suspect were uploaded by these same surgeons in Tucson. Caution: not for those unused to surgical procedures. The quality of the video is outstanding.
In many ways, operating rooms are different than all other hospital spaces. For reasons of sterility, patient safety, and a general sense of order, it's hard for most trainees to get a glimpse of what is going on there. Google Glass provides an opportunity to "open up" this environment in a way that is much less disruptive than previous technology such as video cameras. I am looking forward to other demonstrations of the practicality and value of Google Glass.