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Google Glass Passes IRB Muster, Assists in Cardiothoracic Surgeries

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, November 26, 2013

A Distraction?
The potential for Google Glass to be a distraction in the OR came up during the audience Q&A afterward.

"It's a really important question, because, in fact, it can potentially be extraordinarily distracting," Theodore says. "The advantage of Google Glass, at least as we've designed it, and used it in our early implementation, is that it's a voluntary decision to have the image actually show up in the field of vision, which means that when the Glass is off, it's virtually as though you're just wearing your glasses or your contacts or what have you."

So, at the moment a surgeon activates Google Glass, "you have made a frank decision that you wish to cognitively turn your attention away from the patient in front of you to the image that's displayed within your field of view, without needing to leave the operating table or in some cases even leave the operating room to see the X-rays elsewhere."

Another questioner brought up privacy and security again. "Largely the data right now does have to transfer outside of the hospital before it ends up coming back to the Glass itself," Theodore says. "So the way that we've worked about this, and the way we introduced this to our IRB, was to anonymize completely all of the data, so in principle there's no patient identifying information – names, birthdates, what have you – that can be identified in the information that's transferred out onto the network. But your point is well taken.

"Certainly as you consider trying to expose the entirety of either the medical record or a digital radiographic archive, it will be all the more important that the security protocols be essentially watertight."

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7 comments on "Google Glass Passes IRB Muster, Assists in Cardiothoracic Surgeries"


Frank Poggio (12/3/2013 at 8:40 PM)
Mr. Kottners comment is interesting, but seems to relate to a teaching situation. Seems to me unless GG is less expensive than a video cam with Inet transmission, where's the real savings? I am sure it's cool to wear a camera on your head...but the ROI?

NHtraumadoc (12/3/2013 at 3:15 PM)
The solution you use of scrubbing patient ID off of images that are being used real-time for patient care is a dangerous one. We must always know that we are looking at the correct patient's data when we use it for patient care. It would be impossible to know whose xray is being displayed if it is anonymous. That should be a concern of the IRB if it hasn't been addressed.

Christian Assad Kottner (12/2/2013 at 5:53 PM)
I was recently involved in a procedure in which we were transmitting a PFO closure with an amplatzer device with Google glass. The telementor was an expert in the subject and he gave us priceless adgice. In addition this was the first time the procedure was being performed in the university. His advice proved to be extremely useful