30.08.13

Google Glass tipped for healthcare applications as surgeon streams operation

AUTHOR: Inavate
Medical students at The Ohio State University College of Medicine watched the procedure from Keading’s point of view on their laptops

A surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recently used Google Glass to stream a surgical procedure live to remote colleagues in what has been described as a world first. Dr. Christopher Kaeding performed the operation and was able to collaborate with a remote colleague while a group of medical students watched the procedure from the point of view of the surgeon.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of this project as we explore how this exciting new technology might be incorporated into the everyday care of our patients,” said Dr. Kaeding, director of sports medicine at Ohio State. “To be honest, once we got into the surgery, I often forgot the device was there. It just seemed very intuitive and fit seamlessly.”

Kaeding wore the device as he performed knee surgery on Paula Kolbalka at the medical centre’s University East facility. Google Glass showed his vantage point via the internet to audiences miles away.

Dr. Robert Magnussen, one of Kaeding’s Ohio State colleagues, watched the surgery his office, while on the main campus, several students at The Ohio State University College of Medicine watched on their laptops.

“To have the opportunity to be a medical student and share in this technology is really exciting,” said Ryan Blackwell, a second-year medical student who watched the surgery remotely.   

“This could have huge implications, not only from the medical education perspective, but because a doctor can use this technology remotely, it could spread patient care all over the world in places that we don’t have it already.”

“As an academic medical centre, we’re very excited about the opportunities this device could provide for education,” said Dr Clay Marsh, chief innovation officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “But beyond, that, it could be a game-changer for the doctor during the surgery itself.”

Experts have theorised that during surgery doctors could use voice commands to instantly call up x-ray or MRI images of their patient, pathology reports or reference materials.  They could collaborate live and face-to-face with colleagues via the internet, anywhere in the world.

“It puts you right there, real time,” said Marsh, who is also the executive director of the Center for Personalized Health Care at Ohio State. 

“Not only might you be able to call up any kind of information you need or to get the help you need, but it’s the ability to do it immediately that’s so exciting,” he said.  

“Now, we just have to start using it. Like many technologies, it needs to be evaluated in different situations to find out where the greatest value is and how it can impact the lives of our patients in a positive way.”