Since the launch of Google Glass, I’ve been closely following updates and developments related to healthcare and medicine. It seems clinicians worldwide can leverage its potentials but there is a long way to go to reach wide clinical adoption. A few concepts have to be taken into consideration:
- Healthcare institutions should be open to experimenting with it (and determine privacy and legal issues). Test drives such as the one in Hartford Hospital are needed.
- Medical professionals should deal with patient privacy and put evidence behind using it in practice.
- Patients should be clearly informed if Glass is used in their care.
- Moreover, start-ups focusing on Google Glass and medicine should be able to join accelerators and incubators. Fortunately, this step has been taken as Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life teamed up to build an incubator for developers called Glassomics.
- All the stakeholders should watch the sporadic examples (see the links in this post).
Here are 3 examples how Google Glass could be used in medicine and healtchare:
1) It could be used in emergency situations. While you are performing CPR, it could call the ambulance to your GPS location.
2) The Radboud REshape & Innovation Center launched a Flickr group so they can share the photos they take while experimenting with Glass in the OR.
3) Stanford medical doctor, Abraham Verghese, started using it because he can now make videos about patient examination for his medical students.
Glass has many a potential use in education, of course, although there’s going to be a number of concerns about its privacy implications when it comes to sensitive information like a real-world patient’s medical data.
It’s not the first time I say Google Glass can be the biggest hit in medical technology this yeas, and now as the number of good examples is still rising, it’s becoming more and more evident. Here are a few cases and experiments.
Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS had a pilot project with this team about the use of Google Glass in medical education. Here is his summary:
We worked in three basic forms; first, a critical care LoM RN, emergently treating a patient and requesting advice from a remote GoogleGlass Surgeon. The second scenario involved the G-Glass Surgeon, remotely teaching a procedure to a group of students (PA’s, medical students and EMS students); here, the instructor is hands-free, concentrating on the actual procedure and the different steps to make it easy for the students to learn. The third one was a clinical situation where a request for advice was placed to a remote GoogleGlass cardiologist, my good friend and colleague, glass Explorer pioneer Dr. Christian Assad (@Christianassad), whom was able to give his expertise to the provider in need, from a remote location, wearing GoogleGlass in a Hang-out. Unfortunately, When Dr. Assad gives his advice to the me through GoogleGlass, you are not able to appreciate that on the video, since the audio comes to the GoogleGlass user by the way of bone conductivity.
And the videos:
It seems there are serious technical issues, but that’s always the case with disruptive technologies.
Lucien Engelen and his team at REshape created a video that shows what a regular patient-doctor interaction would look like with the Google Glass and what additional features it could add to the process:
Just one more thing. Get prepared for more and more applications/services based on Google Glass. I recently came across GlassFit that guides you safely through a circuit of workouts while helping you keep track of your full set of workouts. We can also expect to see more and more examples when patients use it in their health management.
If the majority of the technical issues related to the use of Google Glass can be worked out, it’s going to be a real hit in medical technology. I cannot wait to get mine and test it in medical education.
I’ve been in contact with Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS for years on Twitter and Google+ and we first met at Futuremed where we discussed the potential opportunities of using Google Glass in the OR, then he let me try his Glass at the recent Doctors 2.0 and You in Paris. And now the great news, he had a chance to do an operation while wearing his Google Glass.
By performing and documenting this event, I wanted to show that this device and its platform, are certainly intuitive tools that have a great potential in Healthcare, and specifically for surgery, could allow better intra-operative consultations, surgical mentoring and potentiate remote medical education, in a very simple way.
The patient involved needed a feeding tube (Gastrostomy) and we chose to placed it endoscopically, with a procedure called PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy. You can Google that to learn more…). Being the first time, I wanted to do this during a simple and commonly performed procedure, to make sure that my full attention was not diverted from taking excellent care of the patient.
Just imagine the future of operations being recorded with Google Glass and the videos will be checked for potential mistakes not by people but by IBM Watson supercomputer.
Google Trends lets users see the top lists of search queries in a new way in different topics such as medications.
Google came up with a new feature that lets us decide should happen to our photos, e-mails and documents when we stop using our account. If you don’t log into your account for a specified period of time (I used 3 months), trusted contacts you add will get a chance to download your data. I now set it up just in case.
You might want your data to be shared with a trusted friend or family member, or, you might want your account to be deleted entirely. There are many situations that might prevent you from accessing or using your Google account. Whatever the reason, we give you the option of deciding what happens to your data.
I’ve been using Google Reader for many years to check the latest updates of my favorite online resources (over 400 of them) by RSS. Checking these RSS feeds is an important part of my work. Therefore I was more than surprised when Google Reader alerted me Google would shut it down on the 1st of July.
I know social media has changed a lot and we actually follow news through our communities. I know because I use those social channels for even crowdsourcing in medicine. But I very much need structure and order when I have to check thousands of news items every single day.
This structure has been provided by Google Reader, but now I have to find another solution. I just cannot believe Google couldn’t finance it any more, I’m pretty sure there has to be a more serious reason in the background which, maybe as a feature, we will see soon on Google+.
Mark my words, RSS is not dead. For those who are happy to find relevant news pieces accidentally online, it’s been already dead. For those who want to filter the web with strategy, RSS is still the only viable and efficient solution. I even teach these methods at the medical school.
I’m now experimenting with Feedly as it offered a very smooth transition from Google Reader to their service. If you have any other suggestions, I would really appreciate it.
People have been thinking about the potential ways Google Glass could be used in medicine and healthcare. Even though it will probably be bad for your eyes, early testers seemed to love using it and didn’t feel it would distract them from anything. A few examples how it could be used in the future:
- Displaying the patient’s electronic medical records real-time.
- Assisting the doctor in making the diagnosis with evidence-based and relevant information from the medical literature.
- Recording every operation and procedure from the doctors perspective. Every movement of doctors will be archived and screened for potential mistakes. (I know it’s harsh.)
- Based on the lab tests of the patient, it will give an estimated prognosis and suggest next steps in the treatment.
- Live consultations with colleagues as they will be able to see what I see live.
- It will guide users through all the steps during an emergency situation. It could save lives if used by laypeople.
- It will suggest treatment plans based on the patient’s genomic data.
Hopefully, Google Glass will not be only a smartphone attached to our glasses:
Such mobile technologies will make a much more significant impact on the practice of medicine than any smartphone applications so far. Fujitsu’s Generation walking stick that features GPS technology to track and monitor users was a big hit at the recent Mobile World Congress, just to come up with one example.
But what about the company that could revolutionize the use of mobile phones in healthcare? Apple is working on iWatch, a smart watch that could be used for consultations, as a pager or even for displaying fresh lab test results from the patients. While it can be a hit as well, I’m pretty sure Google Glass will rule this market for some time.
Moreover, imagine all these technologies with IBM Watson being the brain behind them. It seems Watson will eventually fit on a smartphone and diagnose illness. If Watson could be used by Google Glass, iWatch or any other disruptive mobile technologies, even though medical professionals will have to go through the traditional educational systems, the revolution of the practice of medicine will be imminent.
Do you want to become better at searching online? The advice I give to my students is that it works just like with other skills: You need to practice more and more. The best way is to do this in an organized manner and that’s what “A Google A Day“, a new game on Google+ provides.
It asks you special questions in many topics and you have to find the solution through online search. It will give you hints or even show you the right search terms.
You can also check the Google Story prezi with post-test in The Social MEDia Course.
Google Now plans to answer the questions we haven’t even asked yet. It it works, it will be a crucial platform in medicine and healthcare by facilitating the workflow of doctors and the way patients search for information.