So Google Glass is here! As you can imagine, there is a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding this product too! So what is Google Glass? Instead of you reading about it, let me just show you Google’s promotional video:
Wow… looks like a cool device huh? But what can it do?
After reading over the specs, it’s easy to see using this device to take photos or videos. Glass also supports voice recognition, so that makes texting and composing e-mail messages a breeze. It can make phone calls and use GPS on your tethered phone for turn-by-turn directions via Google Maps. And of course it will integrate with other Google services like Google Hangouts.
As a gadget geek, I think the device is innovative and cutting edge. But… I have no desire to own one plus I really don’t think I would ever wear Google Glass at work or after hours. It bears no resemblance to Navin Johnson’s Opti Grab but it does make me think of it because I’m sure most people will not look this cool using Google Glass.
Instead of focusing on how Glass would impact my sense of fashion, let’s take a look at the potential ways Google Glass (and other wearable computers) can impact the healthcare setting:
Retrieve Evidence-Based Information – I know… we librarians are so predictable but this application of Glass addresses a critical need in the clinician workforce. Studies have shown that the typical physician has about 10 questions per day, of which about one half go unanswered. Using Glass, we could have a voice-activated assistant to search PubMed’s Clinical Queries or use PICO searching to answer patient-related questions.
Provide Access to the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) – Using the wireless capabilities of Glass, “key” information from the EMR about your patient like vitals, labs, etc. can be easily displayed when you get ready to see your next patient.
Link History & Physical Examination Data to the EMR – Glass could act as a real-time medical history-taking tool that would record and upload clinician/patient interactions into the EMR.
Prevent Diagnostic Errors – Preventing diagnostic errors would also be a natural use Glass. Glass could provide access to differential diagnosis tools in real time to aid clinicians in the diagnostic process. Let’s take this a step further, Glass could snap a picture of a skin lesion and then use a database to find a match to assist with your diagnosis. Or, Glass could use visual recognition apps to identify and quantify other visible symptoms.
Prevent Medication Errors – Medication errors lead to increased ER and hospital visits; Glass could use a visual search app to quickly identify medications during a patient medication review and determine any potential interactions or conflicting prescriptions.
Consult with Colleagues – Glass uses the Google apps so using Google+ Hangouts to consult with an expert clinician is just a voice command away. Send pictures or video to your colleague for a more comprehensive consultation.
Streamline Clinician Case Load – Glass could increase efficiency in your daily workflow by alerting you of your next appointment and providing a summary of key points in the patient’s record. See this video demo of this idea.
Translate for Non-English Speaking Patients – Glass could also “live translate” your interactions with non-English speaking patients.
These are just a few ideas and I have read several more scenarios on different blog posts like How Google Glass could revolutionize medicine. Companies, such as Augmedix and Pharmaforward, have already popped up to begin developing Google Glass apps that will enhance healthcare. This is a trend that will continue for the short term until better more human-friendly technology is developed. Who knows??? Maybe we are just a few short years away from implanted computers and contact lens displays.
I am impressed with Google’s foray into the wearable computer market but don’t think for a minute that I wouldn’t make fun of you for wearing Google Glass after I express my fascination of the device. And if it is not enough for me to make fun of you, take a look at Tech Blogger Randall Meeks’ Review here.