What Can Google Glass Do For the Future of Healthcare? An Interview with Dr. Rafael Grossmann
In April, AHP blogged about Google Glass, one of Google’s latest projects that has people across all industries buzzing with anticipation. For our readers that don’t know about Google Glass, it is the advent of light-weight glasses that allow you to take pictures, record video, share, get directions, voice text, translate, and web search all while being hands-free.
Today, Dr. Rafael Grossmann, trauma surgeon, TEDx speaker, and U-FutureMed/Singularity University graduate discusses the importance of applying innovations in technology to healthcare, specifically Google Glass, and the integration of these types of advancements into our healthcare system and society.
AHP: Dr. Grossmann, AHP welcomes you and would like to thank you for sharing your expertise with us today.
Dr. Grossmann: Thank you.
AHP: Recently, you blogged about the innovative technology of Google Glass as used in healthcare, would you like to share some of those ideas with us today?
Dr. Grossmann: Thank you for having me. The idea is to use technology that is available to improve patient care and the way we interact with patients, patient’s relatives, and providers who might need our expertise. I think that Google Glass gives us this incredible ability to somehow be physically present, but also be connected virtually anywhere we want, as well as be able to use voice commands to access all the features of Glass including: video recording, photography, and web searching.
For many years, in Maine, we have been using telemedicine applied to trauma and other specialties. First, we started using big camera systems, and sometimes mobile computer systems with cameras, and then eventually we started using mobile devices, essentially the iPod touch. Next, we migrated to smartphones, and now from our pocket we’re able to connect remotely and be there, if anything but physically.
Now, with Google Glass rather than having to use our hands to access the device, we only need the use of our eyes.
AHP: How long do you think it would take for Google Glass, applied to healthcare, to take to take effect?
Dr. Grossmann: Once we get the device, we will be able to work with Glass, using the current technology to hopefully try to expand and apply this technology to healthcare. There is some negative press out there about Google Glass, with some saying people will become cyborgs, but there is always push back with new technology. People will eventually get used to having a device like this in front of their eyes.
It will change the way we behave and act, and as the technology improves, the culture will have to accept something like this, maybe not just for common use but for certain specialties. I can’t imagine that it would take more than a few months for people to start realizing the potential that a device like Glass would have for medicine, for the industry, for anything really. It is an incredible tool.
AHP: Do you think that patients will be taken aback seeing their doctor wearing some form of Google Glass, or do you think they will get used to it pretty quickly?
Dr. Grossmann: No, I think they will get used to it pretty quickly, again I think it is a culture change. When a patient comes to the office, the doctor or medical assistant takes all patient data and history. They’re the ones plugging it into the computer while talking to you. Sometimes, they’re not even looking at you, and other times they’re inappropriately turned away from you while inputting data.
I think that Google Glass will allow us to actually improve the way we connect with patients, because we will be able to sit in front of them, looking at their eyes, and with just a brief movement of our eyes we will be able to access their history. This will create more of a personal experience. In the beginning, patients will think it is weird, and wonder what their doctor is doing with his face. But as it becomes more common, over a short period of time, patients will start to realize that this is a better way to go.
AHP: One of the chief arguments against Google Glass is that healthcare providers, doctors, or nurses, may become dependent on this technology. How would you argue against this concern?
Dr. Grossmann: I think that we are already dependent on technology with electronic medical records, and with everything digitalized. We are already dependent on technology in many other ways that patients don’t even realize. I think that it won’t be any different with Google Glass. We will be just as dependent on Glass as we are on our laptop or PC to check patient’s data. I think dependency is kind of a relative term, I believe that Glass will improve the flow and efficiency of our interaction with patients and providers. So, if you really want a smooth, efficient, and optimal interaction to improve safety, cost, and outcomes, you might be dependent on the Glass to have that quality of interaction.
AHP: Thank you again for talking to us and giving your insight and expertise. As many people are still uninformed about the application of Google Glass, especially in healthcare, we see the importance of educating the general public.
Dr. Grossmann: I think that if we don’t get the message out there, that the patient will not know that this is possible. And I think it has to come from the patient when we try to change something in healthcare or anything else. It has to be the end user, or receiving user, who is saying, “Wow…why do I need to go to your office and wait 2 hours, or 3 hours, or 4 hours to be seen, when you could see me via video, and it would just take a few minutes of time?” Once the patient realizes that something like this is possible, I think it will be ubiquitous, and people will demand change to happen very quickly.
To read AHP’s Google Glass blog, click here.
To read Dr. Grossmann’s blog, click here.
To visit the Google Glass site, click here.
Interview By: Grace Gardner, Senior Marketing Consultant, Advanced Healthcare Partners