Google Glass has a way to go in operating room, says surgeon

Wi-Fi connectivity and security issues among problems in the OR

Google Glass is useful as an adjunct device for surgery, but it still has a way to go before it can be a true surgical tool. That is the judgment of Pierre Theodore--a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center--who has been testing Google Glass in the operating room for three months.

Theodore used Google Glass on just 10 patients for operations ranging from cancer mass removals to a lung restoration, according to a report by Fast Company. Google Glass can display x-ray images while Theodore is operating, instead of him having to walk over to a flat screen TV mounted on a nearby wall.

"Right now I have a 48-inch TV screen mounted in the back of the operating room that's 15 feet away, and, among hospitals, that is as good as it gets," Theodore tells Fast Company.

"Most surgeons will tell you that there have been times when they were not able to access the radiographic images when they needed it. This could potentially compromise an operation," he adds.

During the trial, Theodore identified a number of problems using Google Glass in the operating room. First, there were issues about the strength and security of the university's Wi-Fi network.

Not all of the operating rooms in his hospital have a strong enough Wi-Fi signal for Google Glass to function effectively. Also, patient data could be exposed without sufficient network security measures in place. Theodore says he had to eliminate any personal patient information from the X-rays before the images could be sent over the Wi-Fi network.

Theodore is disappointed with Google Glass' response to voice commands. He had to use a technician to help with the transmission of X-rays during the procedure. Also, the images were hard to see in the bright light of the operating room.

To turn off Google Glass, the technician had to swipe the right arm of the device, which could create an unsanitary condition in the operating room. Theodore would prefer a completely hands free version of Google Glass.

For more:
- read the Fast Company article

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