Google’s revolutionary wearable device, Google Glass, recently became available for sale on May 15th, 2014 for $1500. It’s an optical head-mounted display with a small prism screen over one of the eyes. Sound is provided through a Bone Conduction Transducer, which uses the bones of the skull to conduct sound to the inner ear. A motion sensitive accelerometer allows the use of gestures in order for the user to make commands. The device is compatible with an app called MyGlass, which allows the user to control it. Google Glass is clearly a highly advanced piece of technology with great potential for the medical field.

Google Glass can be useful for:

  • Hands-on training: Med students and residents can use the video feature to directly share patient information with their attending physicians.
  • Telemedicine: The communication features of Google Glass enable remote healthcare, which can be useful for rural areas with healthcare shortages.
  • Documentation: Glass allows surgeons to record the surgeries they perform with verbal commentary. Figuring out how to integrate this feature with EHRs could be cutting edge and would provide detailed notes.

Dr. Christopher Kaeding is an orthopedic surgeon and the director of sports medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He used Glass to record a live ACL surgery in August 2013 and broadcast it to audiences miles away. Viewers had the unique privilege of seeing the surgery from the surgeon’s perspective. In terms of teaching methods, this offers a more direct approach for surgical residents to have a deeper understanding of meticulous procedures and a better learning experience.

UC Irvine has partnered with Google and purchased 10 pairs for their medical school. They’ll be the first medical school in the country to integrate Google Glass into their curriculum. This is part of their iMedEd program, which is intended to help the digital education of medical students. Third and fourth-year students will be able to field test the devices and experience Glass’s benefits first-hand.

Now that the device is available for consumer purchase, the options are endless as healthcare continues to evolve digitally.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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