Google Glass in Surgery

A recent surgical publication discussed the possible uses for Google Glass in surgery, especially for training purposes. Google Glass is one of the recent breakthroughs in mobile technology. It appears to be just a typical pair of glasses, but it actually includes wireless capability, a camera, and even a CPU.

The writers of the article tested a pair to see whether Google Glass would be applicable in normal surgeries. One surgeon, at the hospital where he was attending, used Google Glass for an entire month. A record was kept of each day, tracking and assessing the possible ways the technology could be used. Everyone involved was very excited at the large number of possible uses that were identified. Some of these uses included being able to document procedures without using hands. Another was having the capacity to quickly access such information as terms or medical syndromes. All in all, there are many benefits to this technology. One downfall, however, is that the picture quality is low.

Google Glass is still in the early stages of development. In the end, it is really a computer worn on the head controlled by audio commands. If developed properly, it would allow surgeons the ability to access all features and information without having to delay or stop a surgery. The functions and possibilities that this could have are endless. For example, it has already been used in surgery to make recordings; another application involved scanning wounds for rare or odd conditions.

One issue with using Google Glass in surgery, which must be resolved, centers around protecting patient rights and privacy. This is important because the device is connected to the internet and information is routed through the servers at Google. That being said, these are the same types of issues that arise when doctors use their phones when dealing with patients. This issue could be mitigated with a future secure version of Glass made available for medical use.