Google Glass: Promising but risky for providers

While Google Glass in the eyes of some healthcare professionals holds promise as an innovative and effective tool in the operating room, to others, its privacy disaster potential looms large.

An article in the Wall Street Journal highlights the experience of cardiothoracic surgeon Pierre Theodore, M.D. with Google Glass. Theodore found he could alternate between looking down at his patient and glancing at the patient's medical imagery on the lens--similar to how a driver can look at the road and the rearview mirror.

"I had thought it was going to be a gimmick, but after that I became a zealot," Theodore, who works at University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, told WSJ. Last week at Rock Health's Health Innovation Summit in San Francisco, Theodore told participants that doctors aren't slow to adopt Glass because they're stubborn, but rather, because they're already inundated with technology--monitors, wires, screens, etc.--according to WSJ.

Google Glass's next battle will be to prove that it can streamline processes that sometimes take more than one machine to handle, panelists at the summit said, according to WSJ.

The technology is not without its privacy risks, though. In an article in Government Health IT, Rick Kam, president of privacy firm ID Experts, points out several, including the bring-your-own-device risk and its challenge in maintain security. In particular, Kam thinks Glass is prone to hacking.

"The dangers of mobile computing, in fact, lie not only in the devices, but in the applications they run and the data they generate," Kam said. "Both are expanding exponentially."

In late June, surgeons in Spain successfully put Google Glass to the test in a chondrocyte transplant operation while U.S. experts live-consulted the procedure in real-time and it was streamed on the Internet. 

To learn more:
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- read the Government Health IT article

Related Articles:
Providers navigate potential uses for Google Glass in healthcare
Google Glass could have strong potential for healthcare use
Wearable device market to reach $1.5B by 2014

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