News Feature | July 22, 2013

Google Glass As A Training Tool

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Google Glass

Healthcare “Explorer” views Google’s newest technology as a fit for providing learning videos to medical students

MedCity News revisits Dr. Rafael Grossman's use of Google Glass to record an endoscopic procedure in the operating room. Much was written at the time about Grossman’s Glass-aided trial procedure, as well as similar procedures from Phoenix to Spain. Now the focus shifts from “can Glass be used in the operating room” to “what are the benefits of using Glass in the operating room.”

Grossman - one of 8,000 Google Explorers selected to test Glass before its release to the public - used Google Hangout and an iPad to transmit the surgery and wrote of it on his blog, “I was able to show not just the patient’s abdomen, but also the endoscopic view in a very clever, simple, and inexpensive way.” MedCity News writes Grossman’s trial serves as “an innovative approach for surgeons and physicians teaching medicine ... from their point of view.”

Forbes agrees, writing, “Medical education, from traditional medical school to the field training of paramedics, is about to fall under the influence of Google Glass.” Forbes goes on to detail Grossman’s use of Glass to educate, writing, “Now, this Google Explorer is extending its use into medical education and begins to look at the value of Glass as a tool for teaching.”

Forbes includes videos of Grossman and his students using Glass in a simulation of a chest trauma patient being evaluated before concluding, “It’s clear that change is coming to medicine, and digital health is part of the confluence of change that will re-imagine healthcare from patient empowerment to educational tools.”

Dr. Martin Olsen, director of the medical residency program in the East Tennessee State University of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is another Explorer advocating the use of Glass to educate, incorporating it into medical education at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine. Olsen uses Glass in conjunction with Surgical Chloe - a full-body, high-fidelity surgical simulator - to teach medical residents and students at the College of Medicine.

According to the ETSU website, Olsen said Glass became a vital part of learning in its first week of use alongside Surgical Chloe and that he maintains a Google+ site – tagged Chloe Glass – where he posts narrative and video updates that illustrate this new technology and its influence on medical education. Residents in the OB/GYN program have worn the glasses to record video during a simulated surgery, while Olsen and other faculty members can monitor that surgery in real-time from a remote monitor.

“This allows medical education to be more learner-driven,” Olsen said. “We know now that medical students and residents learn better by doing and by hands-on practicing. By learning on the simulator and recording a video from the user’s perspective, Google Glass makes for a wonderful self-evaluation tool. The learners can watch the surgical procedure they performed, and, if they made a mistake, see that mistake and correct it next time.

“When we put Google Glass on Chloe, the video is shot from a patient’s-eye perspective, and the learners saw after the patient encounter that their eye contact with the patient was not what it should be. The next day, they self-corrected. Their eye contact was exactly what it needed to be.”

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