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This week in the news, Google Glass has found an audience amongst the medical community. According to researchers, the high-tech glass could prove to be effective in extending bedside consultations to distant facilities, such as rural and community hospitals.

 

 

The wearable Google Glass device is simple to use, and must be positioned correctly to stream video, audio, and take photos. The specifically programmed equipment then sends the information real-time to the remote expert. It is a great improvement from traditional telemedicine devices, which usually consist of large desktops attached to a cart that needs to be transported from one exam room to another. This is both limiting in terms of functionality and access in a setting as busy as the ER.

According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts medical school, the hands-free set has efficiently assisted in diagnosing specific poisonings, thus enhancing patient care. Research shows that medical residents using the Google Glass were exceedingly confident in their skills, and felt that they had changed management of patient care in over half the cases. Consultants are also able to receive photos of medicine, electrocardiograms, and specific patient information at the discretion of the supervisor. Additional studies showed that with the help of Google Glass, six patients had received an antidote they would not have been given were it not for the help of the device to support their diagnosis. Specialists were able to see small clues that could have been easily missed in a verbal consultancy, such as mumbling speech and patients picking at their skin.

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It is exciting to see a new generation of technology enter the medical world, allowing for even faster and more efficient diagnosis in times of extreme need. Because Google Glass is unobtrusive to patients and can be operated hands-free, it is sure to have a distinct advantage over traditional telemedicine platforms.

 

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