June 27, 2013 4:55 pm

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

Google is enlisting film students from five colleges to help it explore how its wearable computing device can be used to make movies.


TORONTO – A U.S. doctor became the first to use Google Glass in the operating room this month.

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.

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“The whole thing was fairly quick and went very well. We used ‘home-made’ techniques, so the pictures and video are not optimal, but I think the point stands: Google Glass streaming during live surgery by a Glass Explorer surgeon is possible,” read Dr. Grossman’s account of the surgery on his blog.

Google Glass Explorers – the nickname given to those who shelled out $1500 for the developer version of the technology – have been making headlines with their unique uses of Google Glass for over a year now.

The tech giant itself even used the wearable technology to record a point-of-view skydiving video.

But this is the first example of how Google Glass might be used by health care practitioners, as mobile health (or mHealth) solutions become increasingly popular with doctors around the world.

Read More: Canadians eager for more virtual, mobile health care solutions

According to his blog, Grossman took patient confidentiality very seriously during this experiment.

“Obviously, one of the MAIN concerns regarding the use of Google Glass during surgery, with live streaming of data, would be to take every measure and to ensure the privacy of the patient’s health information (PHI),” read the blog post.

“Not only I obtained informed consent about what we were going to attempt (and documented it), but most importantly, made sure that no recording or transmission of any identifying information was done.”

The patients face was not shown during recording.

Grossman said his goal in using Glass during surgery was to show that the technology has the potential to be quite useful in healthcare by allowing “better intra-operative consultations, surgical mentoring and potentiate remote medical education, in a very simple way.”

© 2013 Shaw Media

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