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Google Glass: Transforming health care in the operating room

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Exclusive interview with UC Irvine Anesthesiology.

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Pristine, LLC. (a Google Glass app developer) engineers apps that support healthcare advancement. One of the apps that they’ve developed, “EyeSight” assists surgical teams with remote surgery and consultations. The app connects with Google Glass allowing medical experts to monitor multiple operating rooms.

After learning of this, The UC Irvine Health Department of Anesthesiology & Preoperative Care joined forces with Pristine to launch a pilot program at UC Irvine Medical Center. As UC Irvine is already a pioneer in utilizing advanced technology (providing every student physician with a tablet), it was only a matter of time before they integrated the adaptation of Google Glass.

Using Pristine’s software and Google Glass, the supervising doctor can simply tap on their tablet and instantly see “through the eyes” of any of their residents. They are also able to view patient vitals which allow them to provide full remote consultation and training.

With new releases of wearable tech that contain an ability to measure and report vitals, the question arises, what other technology is in use at UC Irvine Medical Center?

“Currently, the anesthesia provider in the room alerts the supervising physician (via hand swipe of the GG unit) on his or her tablet. They 'open' the screen, and then see exactly what the wearer of Google Glass is looking at; most usually, the monitor.”

Dr. Leslie Garson, a UC Irvine Health anesthesiologist, says that the pilot program is still not yet at a stage where it can actually replace their standard practice. He also tells us,

“The use of this technology in the operating room is more of a way to enhance real time communication versus currently used technology, such as a phone extension or a paging device. The added bonus is that the device is completely hands free.”

The hands free capability of Google Glass has the potential to extend beyond the operating room. It also opens up an opportunity for paramedics and doctors to communicate at the scene of a car crash or for visiting nurses to coordinate with specialists while administering care for in-home patients.

The potential that this program can provide for reduced costs, accessing knowledge and improved communication once it is fully implemented could completely overhaul the medical industry. We look forward to hearing an update from UC Irvine as the pilot progresses.

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