Google Glass Brings Digital Images into the Operating Room

UCSF health care providers are increasingly introducing new technology to transform health. We in the UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging have long been proponents for image-sharing technology and now a new innovation is making giant strides in the medical world – Google Glass.

UCSF cardiothoracic surgeon Pierre Theodore, MD, is using Google Glass to bring CT and X-ray images needed for procedures right into the operating room. Google Glass, a 1.8 ounce computer configured like a pair of eyeglasses that brings the images into the wearer’s peripheral vision, allows Theodore to view X-rays directly in his field without having to leave the operating room, log on to another system or turn his attention away from the patient. Simply, the tool allows the surgeon to maintain attention where it should be, which is the on the patient 100 percent of the time.

Google Glass makes information more accessible to physicians constantly making critical decisions. With the technology, physicians can quickly and easily call up electronic medical records. Additionally, wearable computing technology could help break down geographic barriers by teaching surgeons in remote parts of the world through live feedback.

“I truly do think that the general concept of wearable computing technology in health care is revolutionary,” Theodore said. “There really is a tremendous number of potential options for its use and it becomes incumbent upon us to try and think about what the various possible use cases might be.”

Just last year, UCSF launched the Center for Digital Health Innovation to validate the functionality and accuracy of new digital health devices, diagnostics, mobile health applications and sensor-based technologies.

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