Iltifat Husain MD contributed to this piece 

A prototype of a system that allows surgeons to view vital signs though a head-mounted Google Glass was recently presented at a proof-of-concept-demonstration by Phillips and Accenture.

The Phillips Google Glass allows doctors to simultaneously monitor a patient’s vital signs while performing surgery.

Data from Phillips IntelliVue, a system that aggregates patient data and provides clinical decision support, is displayed on Google Glass. Brent Blum, lead for wearable device R&D at Accenture Technology Labs, told InformationWeek that the advantage of seeing vital signs through Google Glass is the surgeon not having to turn their head away from the patient to the look at the monitor.

Those of us that have spent time in the operating theatre can attest that viewing vital signs in a passive manner has the potential to provide real utility if done in a subtle manner.

The Google Glass prototype allows the doctor to walk into a patient’s room and talk to them while looking at key data from the EMR on Google Glass. This helps prevent the doctor from continuously looking at the computer while speaking to the patient, according to Frances Dare, managing director of Accenture’s connected health business.

There are four avenues of interaction with Google Glass: touch, speech, tilt of the head or gaze in a certain direction. This was taken into consideration with the design of the prototype in order to factor in the need for keeping the operating room a sterile environment. “Before the doctor scrubs in, they can tap the side of the display. But later, they’re using voice and head tilt to advance it” says Blum.

Due to the limited size of the Google Glass display it can be a challenge to adapt PC-based EHR data to mobile view. Blum believes that vendors will adapt their software to provide only the most critical of information to users of Google Glass.

Additional areas of operating room uses with Google Glass may include:

  • Accessing a near real-time feed of vital signs in Google Glass
  • Calling up images and other patient data by clinicians from anywhere in the hospital
  • Accessing a pre-surgery safety checklist
  • Giving clinicians the ability to view the patient in the recovery room after surgery
  • Conducting live, first-person point-of-view video conferences with other surgeons or medical personnel
  • Recording surgeries from a first-person point-of-view for training purposes

Source: Information Week, PR Newswire