5 ways medics could use Google Glass

New device is the attempt to make wearable computing mainstream

Fresh details about Google's much-anticipated smart glasses have emerged recently, with a YouTube video uploaded by the company showing Google Glass in action.

Google Glass is effectively a smart pair of glasses with an integrated heads-up display and a battery hidden inside the frame and reports say they could hit the market by the end of this year.

For me, the technology is a serious game changer in the way we interact with our computing devices. Consider that we still by and large control our devices with keystrokes and finger motions, although voice and motion control are becoming fairly common.

With the addition of visual cues, as well as the display of information out of our hands, it becomes an almost new world in how we receive data.  

Could such technology be used by us in EMS? Well, our industry requires us to use both of our hands during minute-to-minute interactions with both the patient and work environment.

Imagine what we could do:

1. Call flow
Dispatch information appears in front of the crew, followed by mapping information. The driver can analyze incoming traffic flow data and adjust route instructions as necessary to achieve the shortest response time without compromising safety.

2. Medical Information
As medical records integration technology is implemented throughout the entire healthcare chain, EMS providers can pull up the patient's medical record on their glasses, scrolling through information with the movement of their eyes or voice commands.

3. Medical consultation
In the brave new world of community-based paramedicine, the EMS provider could consult with other care providers directly through the glasses, while projecting a view of the patient.

4. On-scene integration
Vital signs, ECG tracings, pulse oximetry and capnography readings appear on the glasses upon command, so the provider does not have to keep glancing at the different devices.

5. Lighting
The glasses can magnify the lighting of the environment, and zoom in on the situation directly in front of the provider, making it easier to spot a vein in darkened conditions, or detect possible scene safety issues at night.

I'm sure there are other possibilities that aren't really far fetched. What are yours? Spell them out below.

About the author

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of "EMT Exam for Dummies," has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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