May 28, 2014

LAS VEGAS — Google Glass, a wearable computer that displays smartphone-like information and responds to voice commands, is already being used for telementoring and telemedicine and has the potential for many other applications in cardiology, experts said at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions Scientific Sessions.

Medical applications for Google Glass already being tested include early detection of MI and stroke, telemedicine, telementoring and quick access toelectronic medical recordsHomero Rivas, MD, MBA, FACS, director of innovative surgery at Stanford University, said here.

“This will be the ultimate telemedicine platform, where we can share with people what we are actually doing,” Rivas said. “This has already been implemented on many occasions.” Telementoring is an application that has caught on quickly because it does not require medical-grade imaging resolution, which Google Glass does not yet have, according to Rivas.

The technology can be used to transmit information from the ambulance to the hospital, he said. “The admitting physician is already getting feedback live into his [Google] Glass and, as soon as the patient gets there, he will already know what’s happening and will be able to record an initial assessment that will be put into the [electronic health record], and then he will be able to immediately get a consultation with another specialist,” he said.

At Stanford, Rivas said doctors are using this technology as a reminder of guidelines and safety protocols during procedures. “The variability of [safety] checklists is dramatic, so if you have something that you can customize, you can increase the safety of your procedure.”

Heather L. Evans, MD, MS, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Washington, said many challenges remain before Google Glass can be widely used in medicine, including ensuring HIPAA compliance with data collection and transmission, enabling data encryption, educating physicians on how not to get distracted by the technology, and educating patients on how it is used — and not used.

“Right now, the device is a solution looking for a problem,” she said. “It has great potential, but we have to remember that it’s in beta.” – by Erik Swain

For more information:

Evans HL. Applications of GoogleGlass to improve outcomes in interventional cardiology: Can I use it in my hospital? What are the challenges for implementation?

Rivas H. Applications of Google Glass to improve outcomes in interventional cardiology: Applications to improve medical care. Both presented at: the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions Scientific Sessions; May 28-31, 2014; Las Vegas.

Disclosure: Evans and Rivas report no relevant financial disclosures.

  • In medicine, the potential for this technology is huge. As far as how it will be applied in interventional cardiology, there will have to be more research and more people coming up with specific ideas. There are a lot of possibilities for telemedicine and medicine in general, after we overcome the barriers of HIPAA and other things. It was very interesting to see how many applications are already being developed.
    • Guillermo Salinas, MD, FSCAI
    • Interventional Cardiologist, Rio Grande Regional Hospital, Mission, Texas

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