Facilitating the Evolution of Wearable Technology
Reactions to wearable technology, such as Google Glass, have so far been lukewarm, at best. A lack of consumer demand and tangible business applications has hindered the widespread introduction of Sergey Brin’s heralded wearable technology.

However, Google’s introduction of the Glass at Work program has increased efforts to find useful business applications for the technology. Google has actually sold the technology in bulk to many commercial and industrial businesses since the program’s inception.

‘Wearable Wednesdays’

In the Toronto area, efforts are being made to acquaint individuals and companies with the advantages of wearable technology. In fact, a new area event, organized by writer Tom Emrich, is geared towards bringing together big name brands, advertising agencies, marketers, wearable technology companies, and entrepreneurs to share information on the most recent developments in wearable tech.

Emrich’s event, dubbed ‘Wearable Wednesdays’, was inspired by his success with another meet up – ‘Mobile Mondays’ – that brought people in the field of mobile technology together to discuss developing trends in their industry.

Wearable Tech in the Operating Room

While Emrich works towards spreading the word about the benefits of wearable technology, a U.S.-based doctor recently became the first to use Google Glass in the operating room. Dr. Rafael Grossman, a surgeon and telemedicine innovator, utilized Google Hangout, along with a remote connection, to record a feeding tube being inserted into a patient via Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) surgery.

According to Dr. Grossman, “The whole thing was fairly quick and went very well. We used ‘home-made’ techniques, so the pictures and video are not optimal, but I think the point stands: Google Glass streaming during live surgery by a Glass Explorer surgeon is possible.”

The possibilities for sharing medical advice and expertise using Google Glass technology seem to be quite intriguing. According to Dr. Teodor Grantcharov, surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, “We can have an expert somewhere – anywhere – in the world provide advice during surgery. An extra pair of eyes. On the screen we can call previous CT scans, x-rays, different types of information that relates to the patients that we’re operating on.”

Maintaining Patient Confidentiality

As one might expect, one of Dr. Grossman’s main concerns when deciding to implement Google Glass technology in the operating room is the maintenance of patient confidentiality. For this reason, the patient’s face was not shown once during Grossman’s recording.

“Obviously, one of the MAIN concerns regarding the use of Google Glass during surgery, with live streaming of data, would be to take every measure and to ensure the privacy of the patient’s health information (PHI),” said Grossman.

Despite these concerns, Grossman is still firm in his belief that the technology could have some uniquely beneficial applications for healthcare through the creation of “better intra-operative consultations, surgical monitoring and potentiate remote medical education, in a very simple way.”

Bridging communications gaps between doctors and healthcare professionals in different locations has immense potential to increase the overall effectiveness of the healthcare industry, and technologies like Google Glass are just beginning to show their potential for facilitating that type of positive evolution.

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Posted by: DSR
Monday, August 3, 2015
Tag: Healthcare
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