Doctors bring Glass into the operating room with hopes of revolutionizing the medical industry

A visitor is testing the new Google Glasses at the international fair for digital economy 'NEXT Berlin 2013' in Berlin, Germany, 24 April 2013.  NEXT Berlin 2013 is an international trade for which serves as a platform of digital innovations from the worl

As wearable technology comes closer and closer to the mainstream, medical applications are at the forefront of potential use cases being explored by hardware manufacturers and users alike. While still-rumored smartwatches pique our imaginations, existing tech like Google Glass is already being implemented in the medical industry.

The latest story of wearables in medicine comes from Dr. Paul Szotek and Dr. Jeff Browne of Indianapolis, Indiana, who used Glass to help successfully remove a cancerous tumor at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital during a four-hour operation.

The doctors were able to use voice commands to summon x-ray and MRI images, allowing them to review important information without ever having to take an eye off of their patient. The surgery was the first of its kind in the state of Indiana, and helps pave the way for future technological improvements in the operating room.

A quote featured on Dr. Szotek’s Google+ profile illustrates the doctor’s eagerness to improve medical care through the use of Glass and other technological advancements:

“The device offers a number of exciting potential applications for patient care,” said Dr. Szotek, who is one of about a dozen surgeons in the U.S. that have been chosen to explore healthcare applications of the technology. “I really think this could transform both what we do and how we do it.”

Szotek also foresees potential uses for streaming video and live two-way communication between first responders in the field and doctors at a hospital miles away:

Assisting first responders in evaluating and reporting traumatic injuries from the frontlines. “Imagine the time we could save if emergency response personnel could capture live images and videos of serious injuries at the scene of an accident and send them to surgeons at a trauma center who could assess the injuries and interact with the responders in real-time,” said Dr. Szotek.

Only a handful of doctors are currently investigating ways to integrate Glass into their work, though more will likely get on board with the technology as it becomes more common in day-to-day usage.

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