People have been thinking about the potential ways Google Glass could be used in medicine and healthcare. Even though it will probably be bad for your eyes, early testers seemed to love using it and didn't feel it would distract them from anything. A few examples how it could be used in the future:
- Displaying the patient's electronic medical records real-time.
Let me start by writing that I think that GoogleGlass is an amazing piece of technology.
I believe it represents the natural evolution of computing devices, and their adaptation to humans, of how we interact with them to make use of their, sometimes, almost magical capabilities; from the initial “room-size” computers, to PC’s, laptops, iPods, smartphones, watches and now… a Glass….
Privacy is a right and protecting it, a duty, in any profession or human interaction. We should not blame the device for the consequence of its use, only the user. No matter what the amazing features and possibilities to do wonders with a particular tool, it is up to us, how to behave when utilizing it.
Pertaining Glass and specifically #GlassMed, I can’t really understand the deep privacy concerns regarding its use at a Healthcare facility, by trained providers, for specific medical tasks.
Obviating the multiple cameras that continuously record and monitor our life, specially inside institutions like hospitals, there are smartphones, tablets, iPods, laptops, etc. , all with photo and video capabilities, everywhere we look.
It is not unusual to see people wandering the hallways, with a device in front of their humanities, isolating then from the physical world, but likely connecting them with a much more vast universe. I don’t think we really get worried about someone recording us when we witness these events.
Yes, #GlassMed could become (I think it will become) an ubiquitous tool in many hospital areas.
It will apparently help to detach the user from the device, except that it will do the opposite, in a good way.
It will allow for us, instant, smooth, un-disruptive interaction with the device and its capabilities, including searching all published human knowledge; immediate accessing, recording and sharing of important information; potential communication with VIRTUALLY any one, including experts in the field of interest, concerned patient’s relatives or patient advocates, students, etc.
When using computer technology, It used to be all at your fingertips…NOW it is right in front of your eye, your RIGHT eye!
I recently had the chance to watch GoogleGlass project, Mr.Babak Parviz, giving a presentation at FutureMed/Singularity University, as part of the curriculum for this amazing program on the intersection of Healthcare, Technology and Futurism.
While wearing the glasses, he provided us with a live demonstration of their capabilities. It was just a glimpse of what they could do, and I tell you, it was plain AMAZING!
Since I’m always thinking on ways to innovate with mHealth, and how to bring new ideas for the use of existing technologies, for me, one of the striking features of he device, was the ability to connect with anyone, anywhere, thru a synchronous audio-video interaction. This video is self explanatory http://youtu.be/9c6W4CCU9M4 . The platform allows the user to merge with the virtual world, basically connecting the “real” world and and the web.
We can only dream of what instant crowd-sourcing, omni-access to the world’s knowledge and omni-presence could do to improve healthcare delivery, making it more efficient, less error prone and hence safer, and less expensive. It could also give the user access to AI platforms that in the near future will play a pivotal role in optimizing medical decision making.
Now, I imagine the glasses as a common healthcare tool. Wearing them at the hospital,all day long; during my rounds to check the patients. Enter someone’s room, having the glass “face-recognition” the person, immediately getting a display of their current medical data and history if needed.Checking lab results, pathology reports or radiologic images….right in front of my eyes (or my eye!). I could swiftly order new tests or procedures, call-in a consultant for a video chat, or even give an update to a family member if requested by the patient or POA (Power of Attorney).
If in the OR, I could consult anyone or check any data that could help me perform a better, safer surgery. I could take a picture of a lesion or tumor, and maybe have a pathologist or colleague give me an opinion or just plain advice. I could update the relatives in the waiting room and even stream pics or video to them.
I see myself streaming live video or photos during surgery..( obviously in a secure network!).For instance, operating on a child, and, just with my voice, connect with the kid’s parents, and letting them see, for example, what he appendix looks like..! What a powerful resource to keep them informed and decrease their stress level and anxiety.
From anywhere, I could be contacted and then connect to anyone requesting my expertise, without time or geographic barriers (watch TEDx “iPodTeletrauma, the $229 130 million sq. ft. Trauma Room, in your pocket” at http://youtu.be/_9QW5jhuPKI )
I believe that the potential of a tool like this is only limited by our imagination. Thanks to Google for that.
I just read a very interesting and excellent article on how Telemedicine can reduce the costs of Healthcare (http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/5-ways-telemedicine-reducing-cost-healthcare ).
It is imperative that we, physicians and other providers, quickly start producing evidence to that intuitive affirmation.
I think that the full adoption of a telemedicine and m-Health culture by healthcare systems will never happen unless the administrators can see some “proof” on that matter (this always makes me think of the movie line “show me the money!”).
When I write administrators, I mean it. For every one else, at least for most providers, and likely for ALL patients, telemedicine is a “no-brainer“. After all, who doesn’t want to avoid a visit to the doctor’s office ?!
Recently, I performed a telemedicine follow-up visit for a pediatric trauma patient of mine. She had major trauma several weeks ago, and was discharged home safely after many days in the hospital. She lives about 3 hrs and 155 miles away. Unfortunately for them, a follow up CAT scan and a follow-up visit was needed in order to make sure she was safe to return to her usual level of activities (sports, school, or just being a teenager). I could tell that she or her parents were not looking forward to making that trip again, spending the money, the time and missing more time away from work and school.
I decided to set up a telemedicine visit instead. I offered them the option and, of course, they were thrilled!
With the valuable assistance of their local hospital staff (only a few minutes away from their home ), we arranged a time and a place to bring her in front of their telemedicine camera, check her in and wait for my call. That healthcare facility is part of our vast telemedicine network, which we use for acute trauma consultations.
On the date of the appointment, she showed up and was registered. The RN obtained her vital signs, brought her and mom into the room, and waited for me to show up … virtually!
Then I connected and “came” into the exam room.I could see and hear them, in real time, as good as being there. I greeted them, asked several history questions, shared with them exam results, and explained the findings, my recommendations and the rationale behind the plan. I could see that my young patient felt so comfortable, sitting in the stretcher, next to mom, video-chatting with me as if she was “Skype or FaceTime-ing! They both looked pleased and happy!
How could they not be? After all, I let her go back to do sports, running, dancing…or again, just being a kid. And also, not less important, we ended up SAVING:
- 351 miles, NOT travelled.
- $70 worth of gas, NOT wasted.
- 5 hrs and 30 minutes of travel time (not counting the office waiting room time!)
- 1 day of work, NOT lost (for mom)
-1 day of class, NOT missed (I don’t know if she was happy about that one!)
We could calculate the dollar cost savings of this interaction, but after briefly thinking about this, for them and for me, the conclusion is:
I’m at the airport, coming back from a long and intense study program at Singularity University/FutureMed, at Sylicon Valley/NASA Research Park. (Singularityu.org. FutureMed2020.com).
We graduated last Friday! The technology, projects, devices and other accomplishments we saw there over the last several days were just unbelievable, hard to even imagine…
About 90 other people , mostly non-physicians, but all with an incredible thirst and passion for healthcare improvement were there learning, contributing and teaching each other about the future of medicine, health, healthcare and humankind.
I encourage you to visit the site, explore it and dream about the incredible possibilities that the future has for us, if we choose to dedicate ourselves to the benefit of Humankind.
More to come…
I work in rural Maine, which means that none of my patients get stuck in traffic jams when trying to make their appointments. It all means that some of them have to travel very long distances and times just to make a doctor’s office visit.
When I see one of these patient in follow up, for example, and realize that the visit only will need to last a few minutes, I can’t but to to feel ashamed of the current system we have.
A patient that maybe only needs advice and reassurance, sutures removed, review of test results, or just a look at a wound, who has to spend time- and money- probably wasting a day’s worth of salary, a tank of gas or paying a baby-sitter, to come and see me unnecessarily… That’s the reflection of a system that has no respect for the patient.
It is known that 80% of office visits don’t require physical contact. With the communication technology available today, even in rural areas, most of these interactions could take place by using remote presence tools (Telemedicine). Using a Wifi network, a cellular connection (3G, 4G, LTE) and a PC, laptop, tablet or even a smartphone, patient and provider could connect with live audio and video, synchronously , to have a “virtual presence” chat, that involves all the elements of a “real”, physical visit, minus the “touch”! There are many applications that allow this to happen keeping the exchange of information completely private and secure ( Skype, ClearSea, Vydeo, etc.)
Even for acute consultations between providers, in cases f Steve trauma, this is actually being done. Since 2011, we have been using “iPodTeletrauma” to connect with a network of Emergency Departments (TEDx “iPodteletrauma, the $229 130 million sq. ft. Trauma Room” http://youtu.be/_9QW5jhuPKI )
I really believe that patients should refuse to come to their appointments, in cases like these. The more these available modalities are made known to the patients, the better; because change and adoption will only happen if and when the public starts demanding this change in the paradigm of their care.