January 7, 2014

Google Glass in the Medical Industry

It has long been hypothesized that Google Glass would make an excellent addition to med tech, but now, it’s actually being used in operating rooms. While adoption is not yet widespread, doctors, including one Chicago surgeon who chose to talk about his experience with it, are now looking to Glass, and it’s competitors, as a convenient way to look at medical files, bring up data, and in some cases, even visualize the patient’s body without reaching for another device. The Google Glass, or Google’s smart glasses, which feature augmented reality, a video camera, and smartphone notifications, are one of the most advanced smart glasses on the planet

Dr. Anil Shah

One recently published case where Google Glass was used in an operating room was by Dr. Anil Shah, a surgeon who decided to use the smart glasses when working on his patients broken nose. Her nose, which had both exterior and interior damage was the perfect opportunity to ‘test out’ Google Glass, and Dr. Shah went ahead with the project. During the surgery, he used Glass to look at her x-rays and MRIs without taking his eyes off of the patient, used Glass to record before and after video so that she could see the effects immediately, and did it all without ever reaching for a device. The voice controls on Google Glass are perfect for the application according to Dr. Shah, because they allowed him to bring up and view important data without ever turning away from what he was doing. This was the first rhinoplasty performed anywhere using Google Glass.

Google Glass Pierre Theodore

Pierre Theodore

Pierre Theodore, MD. is a cardiothoracic surgeon was the first surgeon to receive medial clearance to use Google Glass during a surgery. He chose to utilize it while performing a thoracic surgery. Theodore first loaded the Glass with data including CT scans, x-rays, and then used it to compare the scans with the live action. He states that it allowed him to easily check the data in order to improve the surgery without turning away from the patient. Eventually, he suggested, Glass could reduce the number of surgeries that turn out badly, because it gives surgeons access to data they need without taking away from their concentration. Theodore also used Glass to film the entire procedure for later viewing.

Dr. Christopher Kaeding

Google Glass Medical IndustryGlassSurgeon3

Dr. Christopher Kaeding is another surgeon who used Google Glass during a surgery. His approach was somewhat different form that of his peers, as he actually live streamed the entire surgery from Glass. Dr. Kaeding performed a complex medical surgery (ACL – Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction) while streaming the surgery from the operating table to the Ohio State University, where several medical students watched on their laptops. Kaeding, and Dr. Clay Marsh, who was also part of the experiment, suggest that Glass could be a game changer in the world of medicine, “now we just have to start using it”.

Dr. Brent Ponce

Google Glass in the Medical Industry

Dr. Brent Ponce is probably one of the more famous surgeons to use Glass on his operating table, mainly because the incident was documented by CBS. Dr. Ponce streamed his surgery live to Dr. Phani Dantuluri who was nearly 150 miles away at the time. The result was that Dr. Dantuluri was able to offer advice and helpful tips to Dr. Ponce as he performed the shoulder replacement. According to Dr. Ponce, Google Glass should be hitting mainstream medical technology by the end of 2014.

Google Glass is definitely making a splash in the medical industry, and for good reason. With dozens of applications for teaching, surgery, and even diagnostics, it’s one of the most powerful medical computing tools ever made. Now, as Dr. Clay Marsh says, “we just have to start using it’.


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