Humanising healthcare…or doctor making a ‘glasshole’ of you?

dont-be-scared-your-surgeon-may-soon-wear-google-glass-in-the-operating-roomA cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco recently performed surgery wearing Google’s wearable computer, Google Glass.

Dr. Pierre Theodore described his experience at the recent Rock Health Innovation Summit. During the surgery he used the glasses to compare the patient’s CAT scan images with what was in front of him. “There was a cognitive integration between what I saw in front of me and the radiographs. It was extraordinarily helpful,” he explained, likening it to driving a car and glancing in the rear-view mirror (as opposed to having to turn around to see what’s behind).

Also speaking at the event was Ian Shakil, Co-founder and CEO of Augmedix, a start-up company which is building applications for healthcare on Google Glass. According to Mr Shakil, one aim of the technology is to re-humanize healthcare so that physicians can focus on the doctor-patient encounter and cut down on the non-patient facing tasks, like taking notes and looking up medical records. 

While it’s arguable whether or not companies such as Augmedix will succeed in further humanising healthcare (picture your doctor, one eye staring at you as you explain your latest woe, the other twitching around, viewing who knows what in a Google Glass eye-piece), various applications for Google Glass do seem to have real potential for being of benefit in certain healthcare settings.

Indeed, for better or worse, there’s little doubt that Google Glass (or a similar device) will be used in many professions in the not too distant future. And according to research carried out by Augmedix, most of us are fine with that. The company asked 200 patients before a visit if they minded seeing a doctor wearing Google’s head-worn gadget, and only 3 demurred!

However, as highlighted previously by the discerning gaze of TTA’s Gimlet Eye, we might be best served not to disregard the potential for misuse and abuse with wearable ‘cybernetic headbands’ such as Google Glass, not least in a clinical setting!

Read more: Fast Company / MIT Technology Review


Related TTA articles: Google Glass ‘hacked’ for hospital facial recognition / Google Glass through a doctor’s eyes / Google Glass: a proper potential in healthcare

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