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Google Glass tested at Odense University Hospital

As the first in Denmark, two departments at Odense University Hospital (OUH) have carried out tests with Google Glass in the clinical work flow.

The purpose of the project was to test the Google Glass technology (GG) as a tool in clinical work processes at Odense University Hospital to examine whether it would be technically possible to use GG with the clinical IT systems in use for patient treatment and to determine if GG – that allows for hands free use – can be a useful tool for the clinical staff.

The project took place from May 2014 to January 2015 and was made possible through a collaboration with Accenture who had access to the technology by means of an agreement with Google to test out the technology in various settings before the official release of Google Glass. 

Google Glass was tested at two departments at OUH; the Joint Emergency Admission and the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. GG was used 23 times in the pilot study; 12 times with patient involvement, 11 times without.

In the emergency department they tested the “see-what-I-see”/live streaming function, which was used to help staff get immediate advice regarding patients from senior colleagues who were not present in the department. In the Gynaecology department the technology was utilized to provide doctors, who were in the middle of surgery, with a visual display of clinical information as a supplement to a verbal description given by phone by a midwife who needed council on a patient in the Maternity Ward.

Accenture has created a video that shows how the GG technology was tested at OUH:

 

Results

The pilot study found positive indications for the use of GG in clinical practice in both observations, user evaluations and verbal feedback from users and project participants.

Overall the GG technology shows potential to heighten quality and save time in the clinical workflows.
At the gynaecology department, all participating clinicians have stated that the display of a CTG curve (Cardiotocography = baby’s heart rate and the mother’s contractions) on the GG was a useful and valuable supplement to the verbal description and gave a more nuanced basis for decisions. In addition, the ability to make important decisions right away while in surgery lessons the need to follow up on pending cases after the surgery is finished.

For the “see-what-I-see” function in the emergency department, the clinicians say that the technology is useful and provides clinical value. With live-streaming on GG decisions can be made even though the counselling physician isn’t present in the department which saves time by not having to wait for a certain specialist to be present.

 

Although the tests found clinical potential in the technology there are also a number of technical issues such as battery life, difficulty using GG while wearing normal glasses, and securing the data transmitted via GG. These challenges all block an imminent implementation of this kind of technology and are also among the reasons why Google has retracted the Google Glass technology from the market for the time being.

But there is no doubt that there was so much potential in the tested functions that the hospital and CIMT will keep following the development and tests of the so-called “wearable technologies” as they provide hands-free and connected access to the clinical IT systems and can have a large positive impact on the clinical work flows.

The pilot study only focused on the possible technical usefulness, so OUH chose not to set up complex integrations to the main clinical IT systems. Before any decision on implementation of this kind of technology, it would therefore be necessary to carry out larger tests that include system integrations. Furthermore it would be necessary to collect more evidence on the clinical effects and the organisational changes necessary to reap the benefits of the technology.

Patientathome

The Google Glass pilot study was funded by the Patient@Home project.

 

 

 

Google Glass

Statements from participating clinicians:

“I’ve had a patient evaluated and triaged to another category through the streaming which saved me from doing unnecessary work, says a nurse in the Emergency Department.

“I think that the use of GG gives a better basis for decision making for the pathological CTG where there isn’t a need to look at many details. But if you need to see specific readings and details or a curve that stretches over a longer period of time, the picture on the GG screen is too small, says a doctor from the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

“No patients have expressed discomfort, anxiety or the like. Actually, we might look a bit more professional when we use “special equipment” in the treatment”. Nurse in the Emergency Department.

Permanent link to this article: http://old.cimt.dk/projects/innovation/previous/google-glass/