Google Glass Augments Reality in Healthcare Industry

HealthcareApril 10, 2015

Google Glass is poised to change the perception of the health industry like never before. The wearable computer device presents itself in the form of an optical head-mounted display, that showcases information very similar to the interface of Android smart phones operating in a hands free format. These wearable devices improve upon most traditional smart phones by adding the ability to send and receive information over the internet with natural language voice commands. More impressively, Google Glass presents this information via a highly accessible "augmented reality" — a copy of the real world, in real time, wherein visual elements are supplemented by computer generated input, like video, sound, graphics, and GPS data. Once Glass overcomes its obstructions, Google's glasses are destined to change and enhance the nursing industry.

Glass In the Office

Although Google Glass has yet to be released to the public, these wearable devices have already created mass speculation. As a result, many health care professionals have already considered potential future applications of Glass, which shows nothing but promise across all industries, especially in nursing. For example, these spectacles look to decrease the number of medical errors with instant information. With live-update patient profiles, nurses can instantly confirm the right patient is getting the right medication with little room for error. Nurses working in hospitals and other medical facilities can look forward to instant vitals activated by simply walking up to a patient's bed. Simply put, Google Glass amplifies the effectiveness of nurses by making more information available faster.

Glass In the Field

Another major application of Glass in the nursing industry is for home health care or nurses in the field. Google's Glass will enable a nurse who tends to home health care patients to capture images, record video, or even stream live footage of a patient's injuries. With the instant dissemination of information, home health care patients will experience much more efficient and effective health care. In triage situations, Paramedics and EMTs with Google's Glass can stream live footage of an accident, conveying information to the receiving ER before victims arrive. Armed with this information, nurses in emergency rooms will be more prepared for incoming victims.

Possible Obstructions

Before Google Glass can become a widespread medical solution, there are three major functional concerns that need be addressed:
  1. Privacy violations. Since the Glass will make taking quick snapshots and videos easier, it will be simple to do so without someone's permission.
  2. Security. Even when professionals use Glass responsibly, it's a wearable computer device so it can potentially be hacked.
  3. Safety of multitasking. Concerns are rising about distracted doctors who are already bombarded with too much technology to focus on their primary task. In addition, there is a rising concern over doctors who think multitasking improves performance when multitasking actually makes it worse.
  4. While the actual impact of Glass has yet to be seen, its potential for the future of healthcare is limitless. Instead of design flaws and faulty hardware, the hypothetical problems with Glass are all based on user error. As a result, the majority of these problems can be remedied with additional training and security measures. Once these security concerns are addressed, the health care industry can clearly focus on the incredible power of Google's spectacular spectacles.

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