Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Google Glass success in Emergency Medicine

William Payne
July 12, 2016

Although abandoned for the moment as a consumer device, Google's Glass technology is finding new uses in medicine. A study by surgeons at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) in Worcester, Massachusetts has found that Google Glass has assisted Emergency Medicine practitioners speedily evaluate complex medical cases with the assistance of specialist pathologists and toxicologists not at the bedside.

A report co-authored by Dr Peter Chai, assistant professor of emergency medicine at UMMS found that Google Glass can bring "virtual specialists" to the bedside of patients in the emergency department of a hospital without actually having to be there.

"We are using Google Glass in our hospital to really beam our virtual specialists down to us in the emergency department so that we’re able to have specialists see people at the bedside without really being there by wearing a simple, head-mounted device," Dr. Chai told American broadcaster CNBC. "As an emergency medical physician, one of the things we’re always interested in is how we can get specialists to the bedside faster to improve the care that we render to patients."

The study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology records how emergency medicine practitioners at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester performed 18 toxicology consults with Google Glass. Emergency department doctors wearing Google Glass evaluated the patients at the bedside while a video feed connected a supervising consultant in the hospital's toxicology department. The toxicology consultant supervised and guided the emergency department doctors through text messages displayed on the Glass. Consultants also obtained photographs of medication bottles, electrocardiograms and other information selected by the supervising toxicologist.

The study found that the use of Google Glass changed the management of patient care in more than half of the cases seen. Six of the 18 patients received antidotes that they would not otherwise have had. 89 percent of the cases seen with Glass were considered successful by the consulting toxicologist.