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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jul 16 2012   7:55PM GMT

Are we destined to see Google Glass in health soon?



Posted by: RedaChouffani
Google, Google Glasses, Google Glasses project, mhealth, mobile health

When you pause and look around at all innovations that have helped shape health care and other industriesthis century, one can easily get giddy just thinking about what tomorrow will bring.  A quick peek at what vendors like IBM, Google, Apple, Microsoft and others are submitting to the patent office can feed many of today’s technology enthusiasts’ thirst of innovation.

When Google introduced their latest product during this years IO called the Google Glass project, many welcomed the device with applause and excitement.  Google Glasses are basically a set of glasses that a person can wear loaded with a computer.  It is literally like wearing a smart device running an Android platform and the display is projected on the lenses for the eye to see.

Similar to many previous technologies that made it to the consumer world that those in the health care industry are making good use of, Google Glasses are bound to be used in hospitals and other health facilities.  It will take some time, but eventually technology enthusiasts will develop and discover meaningful uses of the glasses within health care.

But when you start to consider the capabilities of Google Glass for health care, one can also begin to imagine some of the use cases that could significantly help with patient care, patient satisfaction and in improving efficiency:

Identification systems:

The ability for nurses, physicians and front desk staff to recognize patients during the first visual encounter and be able to view any health and billing related alerts without performing look-ups on a computer.

Remote assistance:

For caregivers performing specific procedures that may require assistance or expert oversight, Google Glasses can be the best option for a front seat view of what the surgeon or nurse is seeing and receiving active feedback via the display or audio.

Hands free work:

Whether it is a nurse assisting a patient who is experiencing a seizure or severe bleeding, a care giver cannot spare a hand in these situations.  Google Glasses enables one to have full use of both hands while still being in full communication with others.

Visual recognition system:

Whether you are indoors or outdoors, Google Glasses can help its user by identifying various landmarks and objects by simply looking at the it and get detailed information on the item without the need of text based search.

Hands free notification system:

For many who work in the health care setting, it is common for clinicians to take frequent breaks to review the different alerts generated by nursing call systems, EHRs and other coworkers, which causes significant interruptions.  But with these glasses, notifications are pushed to the users and delivered directly to their eye.  This can be very useful for care providers when they are caring for a patient or during a surgery and specific alerts are triggered and need to be delivered immediately.

While this may be just a small set of use cases possible with Google Glasses, there is a true opportunity to see a technology that will yet again help change the way we interact with information in the health care.  Tomorrow’s innovation might even deliver content via contact lenses one day.

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