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Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice

Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice
By Barry Levine

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Dr. Steven Horng in Boston is among those using Google Glass in a medical practice. At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a glance by Horng at a QR code hung on the exam room door can call up a patient's records. The hospital is expanding its Google Glass experiment to the Emergency Room, where all the doctors will use Glass.
 



Google Glass may find its first markets in verticals where hands-free access to information is a boon. Medicine is among the most prominent of those areas, as evidenced by the number of Glass-wearing experiments in medical practice and education that are under way.

At Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, for instance, doctors are testing the feasibility of using Google Glass in the emergency room. According to Brown University's newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, one use case involves Glass-recording patients with dermatological issues such as burns, and then transmitting the video with audio to an on-call dermatologist.

Such a use is two-way telemedicine, but much more mobile than earlier attempts. The hospital reported that patient responses have been positive, and that it is "like the dermatologist is in the room."

Everyday ER Gear

The Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University has used Glass in operating rooms to help teach orthopedic surgery to medical students, from a first-person point-of-view. But doctors say that the headset could be more useful if it could track where the wearer is looking, and record accordingly.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is another testing site for Glass's many medical possibilities. In one real-life case, Dr. Steven Horng was questioning a patient with bleeding in the brain who was allergic to some kinds of blood pressure drugs, but couldn't remember their names.

Instead of having to waste valuable time by finding the data through a computer screen, he simply called up the files on the eyepiece as he was treating the patient. At Beth Israel, patient records can be called up by glancing through the Glass lens at QR codes, which are posted on the doorways of patient rooms.

Because of such success stories, the hospital is expanding this week its Glass experiment to its entire emergency department for everyday use. ER doctors will routinely wear Glass as part of their regular gear.

Wearable Testing Lab

At UCLA, researchers are using Glass as a wearable testing lab. To do so, a special app visually reads lateral flow tests that use nanoparticles to detect a specific antibody, antigen or enzyme. The captured image is then sent to a secure server that analyzes the image and quickly returns the results.

The headset, currently in a trial release from Google and priced at $1,500 each, provides a clear, small screen over one eye, a video/photo camera, and a wireless connection. Users control the device through spoken commands, head movements and a small touchpad on the right side. (continued...)

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