Google Glass & Privacy

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!


  1. Gregg
    April 21, 2013 at 11:52 am

    privacy is a concern because you are taking images of patients who are in the clinic but are NOT managed by you, and sending them thru a server that does not belong to the clinic. it’s a concern because you are not controlling the info flow, and really have no idea what you are doing with the info — that is the very definition of NOT protecting patient’s rights. what do you think?


    • April 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      I would not be taking any recording of any data that could have pt ID clues, at least for now. Otherwise that would not be HIPAA compliant, as I explained before.


      • Gregg
        April 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm

        although recording is doubly protected, transmitting an image across the net is also protected.


      • Vyas
        April 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm

        Good Afternoon Dr. Grossmann,

        I have been through your comments on and also the couple of articles related to Google glass and Healthcare posted by you. They sound very innovative and challenging to me. I am very excited to develop something on google glass. I believe based on my qualification and software development experience, I may be able to assist in converting some of your app ideas in reality. I have Bachelors and Masters degree in Computer Science and have around 10 years of software development experience including 2 years of experience in healthcare related software development (including eMAR, Pharmacy Order Management System etc). Please let me know, if you would like to discuss further.



      • April 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm



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