September 30, 2014
(ED NOTE: Not everyone feels that all things digital  is gold; written by a respected surgeon, the Skeptical Scapel)

Advocates of Google Glass in surgery are apparently desperate to find some use for the device.An article headlined “Google Glass makes doctors better surgeons, Stanford study shows” concluded that the study offered “compelling preliminary evidence that the head-mounted display can be used in a clinical setting to enhance situational awareness and patient safety.”Using an app capable of displaying vital signs on Google Glass in real time, 7 surgical residents recognized critical desaturation in simulated patients having procedures under conscious sedation 8.8 seconds faster than a control group of 7 residents relying on standard monitors. Glass-wearing residents also became aware of hypotension 10.5 seconds before the control group.Not mentioned in the article but present in a linked abstract of the paper not yet submitted for peer review was this pearl—neither difference was statistically significant.This evidence is not that convincing. Even if the difference had been statistically significant, it is surely not clinically important.How seeing vital signs on Google Glass is better than relying on the simple alarms that are built in to every monitor is not clear. Either way, you must stop the operation and look up to see the vital signs.

In a brief video accompanying the article, a surgeon can be seen rather clumsily activating and resetting the app on his Google Glass. The time required to perform these maneuvers apparently was not discussed.

The article, probable written directly from a press release, took a comedic turn with this sentence, “One test demanded that the resident perform a bronchoscopy, in which the surgeon makes an incision in the patient’s throat to access a blocked airway.” But bronchoscopy does not involve making an incision in the throat or anywhere else.

If you would like to hear a different side of the Google Glass story, check out this video review from GeekBeatTV entitled “Google Glass is the worst product of all time.” You can forward to the 3:45 mark to get past the woes of wearing prescription glasses with Google Glass and hear about the poor battery life, the balky commands, the system crashes, and more.


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