"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." - Henry David Thoreau
Whether or not by design, Google Glass is revolutionizing the healthcare world. As in fields like higher education, third-party application developers and users are embracing Glass to deliver highly empowering, meaningful Glassware with amazing results. Mark Taglietti, head of ICT delivery services and vendor management at London University College Hospitals says, "Google Glass represents a step change in technical innovation, wearable technology, and the convergence of personal devices in the workplace. The healthcare applications of Glass are wide-ranging, insightful and impactful, from enabling hands-free real-time access to clinical and patient information, to the transmission of point of view audio and video for surgical research and educational purposes. Glass marks the beginning of a truly remarkable journey for technical innovation within healthcare, enabling providers to improve the delivery of care, as well as overall quality and patient experience."
Here and in the accompanying slideshare are fifteen areas in which Google Glass is dramatically changing healthcare.
Physicians typically spend hours each day on patient documentation and electronic health records (EHRs). Augmedix is a Glass application that provides a better way for doctors to enter and access important patient information in real-time without being tethered to a computer. Dignity Health uses Augmedix software and Glass to streamline the interaction between physicians and patients. Doctors can maintain patient eye contact while their conversations are securely recorded along with visual information. The software also makes it easy for doctors to access patient data and conduct searches using simple verbal requests.
The nature of telemedicine is to connect doctors to patients on-demand. The range of telemedicine scenarios is vast. Glass can provide synchronous video conversations with physicians at remote locations. Remotely-conducted procedures can be recorded and embedded in patient records for future reference. With Glass, physicians at rural hospitals can consult with specialists located anywhere in the world in real-time to provide world-class service to their patients. Telemedicine also plays a major role in streamlining care to hospice patients. Care providers can communicate with physicians remotely and proactively monitor patients whose EHRs can be transmitted in real-time. The seemingly high $1,500 price of Google Glass is significantly less than other types of hospital videoconferencing, which can run upwards of $40,000.
The Stanford University Medical Center Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery uses Google Glass in its resident training program. Surgeons at the medical center use glassware from CrowdOptics to train residents on surgical procedures. Fluid communication between surgeons and residents can be critical for improving the procedures. With the CrowdOptics software, surgeons can watch the progress of residents and provide visual feedback on their technique. This is truly like viewing a day in the life from the clinician's perspective.
Philips Healthcare uses Google Glass to overlay information directly into the clinician's field of view. The Philips IntelliVue solution allows doctors to monitor patients' vital signs during surgical procedures without ever having to take their eyes off the patient. Augmented reality gives doctors expedited access to the information they need in settings where they need it most. Live streaming of procedures can also be used with augmented reality applications for teaching.
Google Glass can provide communications with a direct field of view for EMS ambulance staff and emergency department specialists performing triage and assessing acute strokes, heart attacks, and trauma in the field. MedEx Ambulance Service has partnered with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago on a Google Glass implementation for their ambulance fleet. The use of Glass allows EMTs and paramedics to stream images and video from the field to awaiting emergency room physicians who can view the trauma before arrival. Advice, diagnosis and treatment options can be given to the paramedic team from doctors at the hospital who can provide advice, diagnosis and treatment options back to the EMTs. This is especially helpful for more difficult and less frequently-handled procedures.
Glass can provide a you are there experience to walk students through surgical procedures. Dr. Paul Szotek, MD, of Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital has used Glass to live-stream hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction surgery to an audience of 600 physicians in Las Vegas during the Americans Hernia Society's annual conference. In his live stream, Dr. Szotek removed a rare type of midsection tumor from the patient as well. He was able to summon the patient's MRI and x-ray scans, hands-free, in the midst of the procedure. In the UK, my company, Extreme Networks, is helping one of the largest healthcare trusts use Glass to record surgeries for educational purposes.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has developed custom Glassware that lets doctors scan a QR code on the wall of each room in the emergency department to instantly call up information about the patient. While the clinician examines the patient and performs procedures, Glass displays alerts, vital signs, lab results, and other data.
Improving The Patient Experience
Patient satisfaction as reported by patient surveys is now vital for all hospitals. With Google Glass, patients can get world-class care from the comfort of their homes. Specialists can be summoned remotely by doctors anywhere in the world to offer the best patient experience possible. These five hospitals across the country are pioneering the use of Google Glass in healthcare. The use of Google Glass will provide better-coordinated care and better outcomes with fewer office visits; all while reducing costs.
That which is not measured cannot be improved. With hands-free, augmented point-of-view features, Google Glass enables clinicians to review emergency triage and operating procedures for training and self-assessment. This helps improve accuracy for future procedures as well as reduces the likelihood of mistakes. Glass-based recordings can also provide teaching tools for resident students and a means of compiling best practices for procedures.
Communication between medical staff and patients is critical. For nurses, patient alarms and communications via Glass will allow a more natural workflow than is provided today with traditional wireless phones and pagers. Clinicians and patients can have uninterrupted communications during office visits. Follow-ups can consist of more efficient remote videoconferencing, rather than requiring onsite visits.
In the tight space of a surgical procedure, streaming perspectives via Glass from multiple angles will improve real-time visibility and provide recorded videos for future use. Doctors can broadcast their surgery in real-time to students located remotely in a campus conference room. This gives students much better visibility into the procedure, rather trying to view it from around a crowded operating table.
Telemedicine For Acute Patients
The cloud-based telemedicine platform Twiage is designed to accelerate care to heart attack and stroke patients. By using Glass, Twiage provides hospitals with a complete picture of incoming patients to help in managing resources like operating rooms and hospital beds. The innovative pilot project GRACE by Cronos Group shows how Glass can be used to assess acute patients and relay information to hospital ER teams. Quick access by specialists to the patient is critical in stroke cases. Glass can provide EMS teams with real-time neurological evaluations of stroke patients to improve decision-making and expand the therapeutic window for tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an injection for patients suffering from a stroke due to blood clot. CrowdOptic and medical transportation provider ProTransport-1 are making this rapid access time and assessment of acute patients a reality with Google Glass.
Patient Care Instruction
Every patient is unique and seeks medical insight on widely different issues. Clinicians with Glass can improve medical records by logging what has been said to the patients and families during consultations. These recorded patient care instructions can eliminate any chance of the patient forgetting instruction or recalling it incorrectly. There will be no paper trail to lose sight of. California-based Kareo has created an app that offers Google Glass for patient care instruction.
Faster Access to Information
Hands-free access to patient records will allow clinicians to look up vital information without taking their attention away from the patient. Information from patients and doctors can be fed into patient records through Glass. Instead of loading EMRs on a tablet or laptop, the doctor can simply start a conversation with the patient, summon the EMR from Glass, and continue without missing a beat. Faster access to this information means more valuable time with the patient.
Google Glass can insure that the proper processes are followed and that communications are conducted in accordance with hospital policies and government regulations. HIPAA-compliant application developers like Pristine and CrowdOptics are making sure that streaming audio and video across the hospital network through Glass is in accordance with all regulations.
These stories and use cases of Google Glass adoption paint an amazing picture of how the technology is revolutionizing healthcare. Glass provides an open canvas for application developers to shape the future healthcare landscape, and Google Glass is but one of the emerging wearables transforming healthcare.