Bio & Life Sciences

Google Glass in the Operating Room?

Google Glass image via Shutterstock

Google Glass image via Shutterstock

Scrubs? Check. Surgical mask? Check. Google Glass? Quite possibly.

Coming soon to an operating room near you, surgeons may be donning Glass, the wearable computer from Google, to help them in their work.

But will Glass be a medical game changer? In a Wall Street Journal blog, Timothy Hay, reporting on a panel presented the recent Health Innovation Summit in San Francisco, outlines the pros: Doctors can use Glass to alternate between looking at patients and viewing that patient’s medical imagery on the lens, “the same way a driver can alternate between looking at the road and glancing in the rearview mirror.” One early adopter found that Glass enabled easier access to both visual fields simultaneously, as opposed to having to use hard copies of images.

Glass has potential benefits outside of the operating room, too: “The device’s camera, microphones, recording capability, Wi-Fi chip and other features mean Glass has plenty of other uses along the chain of health-care delivery,” Hay writes.

The cons? First, doctors in general tend to be on technology overload. To combat that, “Google, as well as the increasing number of developers building applications for Glass, will have to convince doctors that the wearable gadget can replace other machines and streamline processes that sometimes take more than one machine to handle,” writes Hay.

Another potential negative: Some investors worry that the gadget may create a gulf in the communication between doctor and patient.

Will the positives outweigh the potential negatives? The market should weigh in soon. In the meantime, what do you think? Will Glass in the operating room be a good fit or a flop?

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