Google Glass shows promise for dermatology care

Google Glass is a feasible mHealth tool for dermatology diagnosis in the emergency room setting, according to a research letter published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

The letter describes a study that investigated the use of Google Glass in dermatology diagnosis and treatment in emergency departments.

In the study, 39 of 348 patients who visited the emergency department (ED) with a rash ailment were deemed eligible to participate in the study and 31 consented. Participants received a standard dermatology consult in the ED and then were evaluated via a Google Glass-enabled video consult with a teledermatologist using a Google Nexus 7 tablet.

Following the video consult patients completed a survey on the experience. Of the 31, 29 reported being satisfied with the Google Glass consult, 30 expressed confidence in the equipment and 28 said they would recommend it to others.

"This study demonstrates Glass is a feasible and acceptable platform for real-time ED dermatology," according to the letter, which noted patients expressed no concerns regarding privacy issues with the computing glasses.

The news comes as Google ramps up its mHealth strategy with plans to develop a smart contact lens, as FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, and Stanford researchers created Google Glass apps for surgical use that are now running in three pilot programs.

At the end of 2014 there was a swirl of rumors Google Glass was quietly being shuttered with even MIT's Technology Review reporting the "computer you wear on your face is falling to its death." But soon after came news of Intel partnering with Google on a chip for a new Glass version.

As the JAMA research letter notes, Google Glass tech is far from replacing one-on-one physician interaction as patients still prefer a face-to-face consult. But when that is not possible, patients are receptive to an advanced mHealth approach.

For more information:
- read the research letter