Imagine how surgeons could react to changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and other vitals if they could see them updated in real time constantly, within their field of vision. Accenture and Philips are working together to make this a reality for surgeons.
During the first two weeks of October, the companies released details about a proof-of-concept for such a partnership. Wearable technology is by no means a new innovation. From wristwatches to fitness bands, consumers have hundreds of options for enhancing their lives with digital devices.
However, Google Glass has the potential to reinvent medicine, by allowing surgeons to adjust their maneuvers in real time. Vitals are not the only possibility for these specialized lenses; theoretically any information could be streamed to the Google Glass hardware.
Google Glasses and connectivity
Google Glass frames are minimalist, with thin lines that wrap around the wearer’s face. Slight nose pads keep the device from slipping down. A tiny glass panel juts out on the edge of your vision: wearers have a choice between a lens on the left or right side.
The Google Glass UI is laid over your normal vision, and gives you an intimate Heads-Up Display (HUD) of tools. Voice commands allow you to control the apps installed in Google Glass, including your camera, social media, navigation, messaging, and browser searches.
Google Glasses can also incorporate prescription or tinted lenses, for a more customized view of the world. This technology promises be a major boon to medical professionals. They can monitor a patient’s current stats while they are in transit or in the process of treatment.
This should reduce the amount of time surgeons need to react during emergencies, since they don’t have to search for a digital readout before having a comprehensive picture of the situation.
The Philips and Accenture partnership
Philips has a long history of creating health-care solutions for hospitals, neuropathy clinics, and private practices. Their MediServ solution allows institutions greater control over equipment maintenance, updates, installation, and care in a variety of specialty fields, from radiology and operations to oncology and cardiology.
Accenture has been crafting technology services for more than two decades for major clients such as Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, and many others. The partnership between these tech juggernauts is extraordinarily promising, especially since they’ll be crafting software for use on Google Glass.
Other app possibilities
The camera capabilities give surgeons a unique opportunity to record and even stream their procedures from a participant’s point of view. In fact, Dr. Christopher Kaeding from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has already done so.
He was able to wear Google Glass while performing an ACL surgery, which was streamed live to students watching from their computers. This provides academia with an immense opportunity to train upcoming medical professionals with completely current, immersive video.
In addition, other professionals can monitor a procedure and give their feedback in real time. All these interactions can happen remotely, since there are no location restrictions for these video streams.
Surgical procedures can be recorded and stored for future reference using Google Glass. This can give medical organizations added protection against malpractice suits, or serve as a learning tool for future generations of professionals. Detailed, first-person-perspective recordings can help experts identify persisting patient issues and find a resolution.
So far, these three companies have only released a proof of concept, which can easily be found on YouTube.
However, this partnership marks a pivotal moment in developing medical technology. Wearable technologies have the ability to change the way medical professionals interact with their patients, allowing them to react to changes in real time.
It’s difficult to imagine what could be on the horizon next.