Bill Swanston

Google Glass is one of the latest technological inventions that’s making its mark on pop culture and more surprisingly in hospitals.

“How?” you may ask.

Well, Dr. John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, explains how they’ve integrated Google Glass in their hospital’s emergency room:

We’ve developed a prototype of a new information system using Google Glass, a high-tech pair of glasses that includes a video camera, video screen, speaker, microphone, touch pad and motion sensor.

“Here is how it works.

“When a clinician walks into an emergency department room, he or she looks at (a) bar code (a QR or Quick Response code) placed on the wall. The Google Glass immediately recognizes the room and then the ED Dashboard sends information about the patient in that room to the glasses, appearing in the clinician’s field of vision. The clinician can speak with the patient, examine the patient and perform procedures while seeing problems, vital signs, lab results and other data.”

The advent of a technology platform that allows patient information to flow freely and safely from the hospital’s computer database to the doctor’s Google Glass gives doctors and health care professionals greater flexibility to provide a higher standard of care. It’s reinventing the way health care providers receive and digest patient information and it allows them to more readily process that information during patient visits, surgical procedures and emergency operations.

Dr. Steve Horng, one of the Google Glass testers, recounted a case in which Google Glass sped up his ability to treat a patient who was unable to talk at length. ‘I was paged (urgently) to one of our resuscitation bays to take care of a patient who was having massive brain bleeding,’ Horng wrote. ‘One of the management priorities for brain bleeds is to quickly control blood pressure to slow down progression of the bleed. All he could tell us was that he had severe allergic reactions to blood pressure medications, but could not remember their names, but that it was all in the computer.’

“‘In this case the glass enabled me to view the patient’s allergy information and current medication regiment without having to excuse myself to login to a computer, or even lose eye contact. It turned out he was also on blood thinners that needed to be urgently reversed. By having this information readily available at the bedside, we were able to quickly start antihypertensive therapy and reversal medications for his blood thinner, treatments that if delayed could lead to permanent disability and even death.'”

So let’s hear it for Google Glass; it might save your life someday. Maybe all this hi-tech stuff really will help us all live happier, longer, healthier lives; who knows?

*These quotes first appeared in an Ars Technica article by Jon Brodkin