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Live Streaming Vitals on Google Glass

New study suggests that wearable technology offers benefits in surgery.

Published: September 16, 2014

Google Glass may offer several benefits to those who wear it in surgery, including increased situational awareness and patient safety, a new study suggests.

A pilot study done by the Department of Surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine tested whether surgery residents who wore Google Glass showing patients' vital signs during surgery performed any differently than those using traditional monitors.

The study had surgery residents participate in standardized thoracostomy tube placement and bronchoscopy simulation scenarios. Traditional vital-sign monitors were available during all procedures, but some residents were randomly given Google Glass with VitalStream, which streams live vital signs and alarms directly into the glass-wearing surgeon's view.

Those wearing Google Glass had earlier recognition times of critical vital sign changes compared to those who used only traditional monitors. During bronchoscopy, the group with the technology used the traditional monitors 88% less, but recognized changes in vitals almost 9 seconds earlier than the control group, the study found. During the thoracostomy tube placements, time to recognition of hypotension was 10.5 seconds earlier in the experimental group than the group using traditional monitors.

The majority of those given the tech glasses agreed or strongly agreed that it increased their situational awareness and was helpful in monitoring vital signs. Additionally, 93% of those who wore the Google Glass said the technology was easy to use and 85% said it has the potential to improve patient safety.

Kendal Gapinski

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