Monday, September 2, 2013

Should Google Glass Be Used in the Operating Room?

My opinion: Though I approve of the use of using new and improved technology to assist in surgeries, I'm not sure if Google Glass is the best option.  Some months ago, I wrote an article on another device that could project the surgery onto a television screen.  This might be the better option for surgeons.  Google Glass wasn't specifically designed for surgery, so even though it is similarly capable of streaming a video, it may not be able to frame the entire area of interest.  Furthermore, I'm wondering if this could be a distraction of the surgeons.  What if Google Glass is eventually used to display a screen of patient information and/or guidance for the surgery?  Is it possible to perform the surgery with only one eye?  And what if eye googles are needed for a particular surgery?  Can the Glass see well through plastic?  More investigation is probably needed into this to determine the effectiveness of the Glass in the OR.  Feel free to comment with your own opinion.


Google Glass Assists Surgeons and Medical Students at Ohio State University

Dr. Christopher Kaeding, an orthopedic surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is shown wearing Google Glass while performing surgery.
Google Glass has been used to film road trips, fashion shows, and boardwalk arrests. Now, a group of surgeons at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center can add that it can film surgical procedures too.
Christopher Kaeding, an orthopaedic surgeon at OSU, donned the wearable computer for a standard surgical procedure: repairing a torn ACL. When he first put them on, he said that it mildly disrupted his routine. "In surgery, you have a certain feel," he told ABC News. "But I was surprised how quickly I felt comfortable with it."
In this particular procedure, Glass's sole purpose was to allow Kaeding to join a Google Hangout, Google's video conferencing service. Also in the hangout were Robert Magnussen, an assistant professor of orthopaedics at OSU, as well as few of the medical school's second year students.
"I was surprised how quickly I felt comfortable with it."
Ryan Blackwell, one of those students, said that Glass can give students an insider's perspective. "Most students have shadowed a surgeon in the operating room, but you're often stuck on the outside trying to get a glimpse of whatever you can," he said. "But with Glass, you get that [surgical] experience that weren't able to get before."
Magnussen adds that Glass's filming ability can reach more than just a couple of students at a time. For medical educators, he sees it as a way of making the curriculum more involved. "Say we're talking about the anatomy of the knee. Watching an actual knee surgery would liven up that lecture," he said.
Both Blackwell and Magnussen have a few minor quibbles about Glass's video quality and buffering. The location of Glass's camera also isn't ideal for surgery, making some of Kaeding's incisions difficult to see. "[The incisions] are still on the screen, but near the bottom," said Blackwell.


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