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Continued: 'Explorers' test Google Glass before it goes on sale

  • Article by: CAROL M. OSTROM , Seattle Times
  • Last update: December 3, 2013 - 6:01 PM

The crew kept the cameras rolling as emergency workers gave the man CPR and shocked him with a defibrillator, saving his life.

“ifihadglass,” Evans tweeted, “I would capture more events like this to learn how we can take better care of patients.”

Like some of her fellow surgeon/explorers — a small percentage of the explorers — Evans can’t say enough, fast enough, about the potential of Glass.

“If you talk honestly to any surgeon, they will admit they encounter things all the time they’ve never seen before, with varying levels of comfort,” she said. “Immediately, you could have somebody else’s eyes on this problem.”

For teaching, Glass could capture a medical student’s perspective — or the patient’s. For students, knowing how they appear to a patient could be immensely valuable, she believes.

In trauma, in critical care, surgery and medicine in general, “we try to learn from the things that happen,” Evans said.

The BBC crew’s unexpected capture of the emergency workers’ efforts could be deliberate with Glass, she thought. “We could look back and say, ‘OK, what did they do right, what did they do wrong, how can we learn from this ... ?’ ”

Long before Evans took Glass into the OR, she began wearing the device outside the hospital ­— at dinner, on public transportation, walking or riding her bike.

Strong reaction from public

She wore it to become familiar with it, she said, and because she enjoyed the reaction from people. “I would say it’s probably the single most illuminating thing that’s happened to me since I became a surgeon, outside of learning a specific procedure, because it brings out this wonderment,” she said. Even so, it was months before she finally wore Glass into the OR — with the patient’s permission, she notes, and restrictions on the video.

“With any new technology, you don’t bring it into a patient-care setting immediately upon seeing it for the first time,” she says. “I needed to have a real comfort level with them.”

In the OR, where she wore the device only briefly, she found technical challenges. To turn the device on, she had to look up, taking her eyes away from the patient, and pay attention to the video recorder.

“I think interacting with the device when you’re concentrating on the patient is almost impossible,” Evans says.

The technology is in its infancy, she says, and will doubtless improve.

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  • Dr. Heather Evans of Seattle tested Google Glass while performing surgery. She wore the device only briefly, and with the patient’s permission.

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