Toronto doctors hope to revolutionize the operating room with Google Glass

Watch the video above: Toronto doctors hope to revolutionize the operating room with Google Glass. Crystal Goomansingh reports. 

TORONTO – The operating room can be a stressful environment for even the most experienced surgeon, especially when it comes to life changing and risky operations.

But what if a surgeon could have access to the advice of another expert – one who could be anywhere in the world – while scrubbed in? That may soon be possible for a team at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, all thanks to Google’s wearable technology.

“We can have an expert somewhere – anywhere – in the world provide advice during surgery. An extra pair of eyes,” said Dr. Teodor Grantcharov, surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital.

“On the screen we can call previous CT scans, x-rays, different types of information that relates to the patients that we’re operating on.”

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READ MORE: Canadians eager for more virtual, mobile health care solutions

St. Michael’s currently has one pair of Google Glass and will be receiving another pair in the near future.

The hospital plans to start non-patient related tests with the device within a few weeks.

A spokesperson from St. Michaels told Global News that the device will first be used to test the hospital’s systems, including testing signal strength in the operating rooms to see how easy it is to use with the secure network.

Google Glass is quickly becoming part of the mobile health (or mHealth) movement.

In June 2013 a U.S.-based doctor became one of the first to use Google Glass in the operating room.

Dr. Rafael Grossman, a surgeon and telemedicine innovator, used a Google Hangout with a remote connection to record a feeding tube being inserted into a patient via Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) surgery.

READ MORE: Google Glass goes under the knife; device used to live stream surgery

Similarly, a surgeon in India used the connected glasses to live stream surgery to off-site training facilities in the hopes of demonstrating how the technology could be used to gather other doctor’s opinions in remote villages.

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Wearable technology expert and Google Glass wearer Tom Emrich believes the device will be very useful to those in medical fields, though he notes that there are still apprehensions regarding privacy.

“With Google glass we’re able to still give our focus to the patient or action that’s happening within the medical environment, but at the same time get information at eye level like vital signs, like patient status, and other pertinent information without diverting our attention from what we really should be focusing on overall,” said Emrich.

“But, I think the use of digital and healthcare is been slow because of confidentiality and privacy.”

St. Michael’s hospital said tests will be conducted to ensure patient’s information will remain private.

– With files from Crystal Goomansingh, Kathlene Calahan

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