While Project Glass focuses on pushing out updates to refine Glass for the consumer release later this year, doctors and startups are pushing the envelope on seeing the potential for Glass use in surgery. In Maine, Dr. Grossman used Glass during a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy procedure (you can go ahead and Google that I will wait). He was careful to not stream any sensitive data out via Glass which would be a big issue for patient privacy concerns. This test run involved just a Hangout between the glass and an iPad not far away but in the future the potential for telemedicine, remote consultations and teaching could have a big impact on the medical field. During the surgery Dr. Grossman was able to show not just the patient’s abdomen, but also the endoscopic view using Glass and he is optimistic in the future it might be possible to directly stream the endoscopic view thru Google Glass.
Around the same time, Dr. Grossman was proving the usefulness of Glass in the OR, a new startup company called Pristine was getting up and running to develop Glassware for medical use. Pristine founders Kyle Samani and Patrick Kolencherry envision a day when the entire surgery team will be wearing Glass loaded with Pristine software. The company hopes that their Glass apps can improve patient safety and procedure efficiency.
“Operating rooms can run as high as $9,000 per hour or $140 – $150 per minute, so if we save even 5 minutes on surgery, that’s close to $1,000,”
Samani believes this will provide improved efficiency by keeping the surgeon team informed with real-time data via Glass that can help the OR and reduce healthcare costs. Pristine is starting a round of angel investor funding and not the only company that sees the potential for Glass in the operating room. Competition in Glassware certainly will drive innovation and in the end that could mean reduced healthcare costs and better medicine for everyone.