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4th February 2015

You won’t wear Google Glasses but will your doctor?

Ok Glass, I need to know if this afternoon’s surgery patient has any allergies and send me an update on the vital signs of the patient I operated on this morning.’

Remember Google Glass? Just two years ago, Google launched a game-changing technology that would turn our glasses into computers.

Everyday life would begin to look a lot like a sci-fi movie, with our glasses playing the role of camera, archive, library, entertainment system and video streaming service.

That was 2013. Now look around. Is anyone wearing Google Glass? I’m not. I know nobody who is.

As far as revolutionising consumer technology goes, experts say Google is nursing an epic fail.

But before we tip ‘Glass’ into the recycling bin, it seems Google’s gadget could be on the verge of rebirth: Healthcare is about to save Google Glass – and vice versa!

As soon as it was launched, pioneering surgeons like Rafael Grossmann were exploring its potential in the operating theatre. Now some are predicting that Google Glass will become as common as the stethoscope.

Check out Grossman’s blog post about his first time using Google Glass during abdominal surgery. He was able to stream the procedure live for colleagues to view. In fact, it was possible to watch what Grossmann was seeing and what his endoscope could see.

The potential for applying this kind of technology to health is enormous. In this TED talk, Grossmann gives some examples of problems that smart glasses can solve.

Skip ahead to the part about how Google Glass can be used to share vital information about patients’ medical history and to bring medical expertise to places it normally cannot go.

– Paramedics arriving at road traffic accidents can seek expert medical advice.

– Doctors in remote areas can be guided through complex surgical procedures normally done only by specialists.

– Medical students can watch a live feed of the very best surgeons at work – no matter where the student lives.

By hooking this kind of technology up to existing hospital information systems, doctors can monitor their patients’ vital signs in real time and review patient records in an instant – all of which saves time, money and maybe even lives.

So even if Google Glass turns out to be a flop with consumers, they may become part of everyone’s lives in the years ahead. Just ask your doctor.

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