Surgeon Uses Google Glass and iPad To Capture Live Procedure and Streams It To a Hangout

Google and many tech manufacturers for that matter lately, have been evangelizing the mantra that technology is here to enhance and improve our lives, not get in the way; in the truest sense to "serve humanity." Recent events and breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, which make use of leading-edge technology, illustrate this vision better than any marketing or ad campaign could ever possibly hope to. A 3D-Printed Tracheal Splint that saves a baby's life is a pretty wonderful advancement; and now a surgeon from the New England area has taken Google Glass into the operating room to record and stream a procedure, in an effort to show it can be done and showcase the possible benefits of "Telemedicine."

Dr. Rafael Grossman strapped on his Google Glass eyewear to become the first "Glass Explorer Surgeon." The procedure involved is called Gastrostomy, a process by which a surgeon inserts a feeding tube into a patient's abdomen. In this case, the good doctor performed the procedure endoscopically, such that he was able to display the entire procedure and the view of it directly as it was being performed. Dr. Grossman was careful not to reveal any personally identifiable information about the patient and of course he was given full permission to perform the procedure this way. 

Google Glass Explorer Surgeon

Dr. Grossman goes on to explain...
"I arranged for a Google Hang-Out (HO) between my Glass and a Google account I created ahead of time for this very purpose.

The connection is remote. The iPad used as a receiver was just yards away, but it could have been practically thousands of miles away.  Before starting the operation, I briefly recorded myself explaining the planned event, and once again, talked about the importance of not revealing any PHI (patient's health information).

I had Google Glass on at all times, with the HO active thru-out the procedure. The live video images that I saw thru Glass, were projected in the iPad screen, remotely.  We kept the volume down on purpose. We tried to keep it very simple (the KISS principle!) and straight forward. As I said, even the procedure was a simple one.

I was able to show not just the patient’s abdomen, but also the endoscopic view, in a very clever, simple and inexpensive way."

Nicely done, Doc.  The opportunities for remote medical consultation, mentoring and even real-time guidance are obvious with the sort of technology that products like Google Glass bring to the table. Imagine a world where doctors can reach medical staff and patients thousands of miles away and help them directly, to save lives. That world sort of world is becoming a reality in the not so distant future it seems.

We hear lots of stories of added convenience and better quality of life as a result of the wonders of technology and related advancements. You might say a lot of it feels a bit superficial and materialistic at times, actually. It's always nice to hear stories of how not only "quality of life" is improved but how lives are actually saved as a result of these magnificent inventions we create.