Google Glass the next iPad in Medicine?

Four years ago in 2010 the big new technology in Healthcare was the apple iPad. By 2013 72% of physicians had tablets according to Manhattan Research.  Google Glass was released to the public on May 15, 2013; could Google Glass cause many doctors to leave their iPads behind or will the steep cost of $1500 exclude many doctors from jumping on the new technology bandwagon?  Google glass has many exciting use cases in medicine.  So many that Kyle Samani quit his day job at VersaSuite as the Product Manager of Clinical Applications to start his own company Pristine, the only HIPPA compliant telehealth and checklist for Google Glass.  Even though Google Glass just became available to the public in mid-May of last year Pristine already has 15 clients.


Pristine uses Google Eyesight to aid providers and medical staff in the following areas: Wound Care, Emergency Response, Anesthesia, Surgery and Intensive Care. To start EyeSight all a provider needs to do is say “OK Glass, start EyeSight” to start streaming the HIPPA-compliant high quality video and audio.  EyeSight allows specialists from any location to aid emergency responders, nurses and providers with patient care.  Imagine that a patient is having a stroke and is in an ambulance en route to the hospital. Current technology such as handheld cameras can impede patient care in emergency situations because responders need to be using their hands to perform emergency care. Google Glass allows emergency responders to stream video to the on call Neurologist without holding a burdensome camera, freeing up their hands to allow them to focus all their attention on the patient.  Specialists are very expensive and scarce, Google Glass allows specialists to consult and aid providers with Wound Care, Anesthesia, Surgery and Intensive Care.  Specialists can now “be there, without really being there” because they can see first person audio and video from the physician or nurse that is physically with the patient.  First person video also has many use cases for medical training.  Because of the numerous television shows about doctors everyone is familiar with the viewing room where medical students watch surgeries from.  Google Glass allows students to now see the steps the surgeon is performing from first person audio and video in any location.

As a pilot I know how important checklists are and have gone through many preflight, before takeoff and landing checklists.  Checklists are just as important in medicine and emergency care.  In the haste of an emergency situation either in an airplane or performing treatment on a patient it is easy for humans to make critical errors that can mean life or death for passengers or patients.  Google Glass allows providers to go through the checklist they need by simply saying “OK Glass, start Cardiac Arrest Checklist”.  I know how valuable this can be from my experience flipping through tattered flight checklist notebooks and reading each step before I can perform any action.  Because these checklists are in book form or on paper they cannot be easily changed when there are new developments in medicine. Pristine checklists have an easy to use cloud based user interface where providers can alter checklists and Pristine Checklists are currently the only HIPPA compliant checklists that are optimized for Google Glass.

Pristine and Google Glass have greatly improved outcomes for the 15 clients that are currently using the product.  Clients can run analytics to measure efficiency of the providers who use the product.  Pristine products are HIPPA compliant because the video is encrypted and audit data is the only data that is saved.  Pristine products currently do not save any PHI and do not integrate into the EHR, however that is an area the company might be looking to expand to in the future.  Google Glass is a very exciting albeit expensive new technology.  It will be interesting to see how it takes off in the next few years and if it becomes as prevalent or even more prevalent as iPads in hospitals and clinics.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *