Ambulance services provider turns to Google Glass to speed treatment

A Chicago ambulance and telemedicine service provider is dispensing Google Glass to paramedics to provide real-time two-way communications with physicians at hospitals while treating patients in the field and during transport to hospital treatment centers.

MedEx is stocking 10 ambulances with the wearable devices and is the first state-approved provider to use Google Glass. Paramedics can send real-time video footage of a patient to doctors, which will speed up treatment and patient care at the hospital, according to a Chicago Inno report. The devices have been initially deployed between the ambulances and The Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

"At MedEx, we work hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to equipping our ambulances with the latest innovations," MedEx CEO Lauren Rubinson-Morris told Chicago Inno. "Google Glass is particularly helpful in medical situations involving health risks that require visual assessment for treatment, such as trauma, burns, cardiac arrest, strokes and seizures," 

The ambulance Google Glass program took two years of development, according to MedEx, to ensure it meets federal regulations regarding patient privacy and security.

The news comes a few months after Google Glass sales to consumers were halted and rumors began flying that the search giant was not advancing the wearable device's development. But the death knell being sounded for Google Glass was premature, as FiercMobileHealthcare reported. 

But there have been indications, despite some very early prominent Glass pilots and programs, that the healthcare industry is still a bit wary of such wearables. As one pediatric surgeon revealed in a recent commentary for Everyday Health, Glass has some shortcomings that require improvement. Oliver Muensterer of Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York, who has experimented with Google Glass during pediatric surgeries, cited a few glitches and drawbacks as reasons Glass needs some fine-tuning.

For more information:
- read the Chicago Inno report

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