Technology in the OR

Could Google Glass change the way surgery is done?

Innovations in the health care profession seem to happen on the regular. Most recently, a surgeon used Google Glass in his operating room to complete a procedure. What's that, you ask?

The technology
Google Glass is a product that was released by Google, of course. These funky glasses allow people to see the world from an entirely new perspective. Many people say that today, it seems as though society sees the world through the screens of their phones and no longer with their eyes. Well, Google Glass could change that. Some of the device's features include:1

  • Snapping photos of exactly what the wearer is seeing by saying the simple command, "take a picture."
  • Recording live performances by simply watching what you see – that means hands-free!
  • Sharing whatever is in your line of sight with others – this is what the doctor did during his surgery.
  • Having directions in your line of view, rather than looking away from the road and to the screen of your phone or navigation system to see if you just missed a turn.
  • Streaming information such as flight status when you arrive at the airport, without having to speak a command.

These are just some of the neat attributes that come along with Google Glass. And although it may be some time until this technology becomes the norm, it is a huge advancement. It may even be able to change the way in which medicine is practiced.

About the use
The doctor who is making headline news due to his use of Google Glass in the operating room is Christopher Kaeding.2 He's the director of sports medicine at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Kaeding used Google Glass on August 21 when he was performing surgery to the anterior cruciate ligament in a 47-year-old woman's knee.

Why was he using Google Glass? Kaeding wanted to live stream the procedure to Dr. Robert Magnussen, an assistant professor at Ohio State, and his medical students. Not only did this provide a learning experience, but Kaeding was also able to consult with Magnussen on proper techniques and treatments during the surgery.

Following a successful procedure, Kaeding told Livescience that he did not find the device to be distracting, and even forgot it was there once things got underway.

"We just have to start using it," Dr. Clay Marsh, chief innovation officer at the medical center, told the source. "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."

And this wasn't the first time that Google Glass has been used in an OR. Back in June, a doctor in Maine used the device to live stream a gastrostomy – a simple procedure – over the internet. If the product continues to be used in this fashion, it could help doctors around the world communicate with each other during serious medical emergencies. As a result, this could have a significant effect on the level of care that surgeons and doctors are able to provide their patients.

Medex Supply provides doctors, health care practices and individuals with all the necessary medical supplies. Offering a range of products, these include:

1 Google Glass, "Welcome to a world through Glass"
2 Livescience, "Doc uses Google Glass to livestream surgery" August 27, 2013

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