Providers navigate potential uses for Google Glass in healthcare

It's time to think about how physicians--and not just techies at Google Headquarters--can use Google Glass. For example, Rafael Grossman, a surgeon at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, can think of a few ways he'd use the technology, as he outlines in a new blog post.

"I imagine performing an operation and connecting live with [a] group of students or surgeons, anywhere, doing a live 'Hang Out,' letting them virtually 'BE' in the OR with me, seeing what I'm seeing, pointing to anatomic structures and different steps of the procedure, [through] my eyes," Grossman writes.

He points out one of the key advantages of Google Glass for a physician--that only the user can see and hear what's going through the Glass. That, he says, ensures that telemedicine can be private and personalized.

Grossman says he envisions being able to call on colleagues for help during difficult surgical cases. He says he also envisions surgical rounds being shared among countries and programs, and EMS providers using Glass in the field.

Additionally, Grossman writes that health systems should embrace the innovation of Google Glass, and support and encourage this "radical thinking."

"A professional association [I mean you, American College of Surgeons] must be the change you want to see," he writes. "Surgeons are leaders, innovators, and 'groundbreakers!' Let's do it! Help me do it."

One startup already has developed a Google Glass app for hospital rapid response teams called Farlo, which is Italian for "do it," according to HIT Consultant. Using Farlo, a nurse wearing Google Glass could live stream video with the patient's vital signs to the doctor on route.

"I think there's a major shift going on in society about where computing happens and what it does, driven by increasing miniaturization, progress in communication standards, longer battery life and lower power consumption," John Rodley, CEO and founder of Farlo, tells HIT Consultant. "Glass is part of that shift, but it's not the cause. We want to ride that shift and are anxious to talk to anyone who has ideas about how that shift will play out in healthcare."

Doctors have been enthusiastic for the use of Google Glass for medicine, but some have their doubts that it will become as ubiquitous as the smartphone, a recent mHIMSS post notes. Privacy concerns are worrisome, according to the article.

To learn more:
- read Grossman's blog post
- check out the HIT Consultant article
- see the story in mHIMSS