SAN FRANCISCO — Google didn’t design its Glass wearable for medicine, but that use continues to be a hot topic of conversation among medical technologists and the investors who love them.
The”Augmented Humanity” panel at today’s Rock Health’s Health Innovation Summit spent much of its time on Glass-based medical apps. This is because one of the panelists was Dr. Babak Parviz, the former Google X director credited with inventing Google Glass and the glucose level-detecting smart contact lens.
Interestingly, Parviz now works at Amazon. He was asked several times what Amazon is doing in health care, but Parviz declined to say. Speculation centers on the company’s chances to jump into the space next year, possibly with a health platform like Apple’s Health Kit. Much more on that later.
“Lots of times doctors collect their information by palpating (by touch),” Parviz said. “They are trying to understand molecules by touch, and that might not be the best way of doing it.”
Parviz explained that if a doctor could see another layer of information over what she normally sees in front of her, perhaps showing a molecular view of the thing being palpated, it might make her more effective.
Parviz says he’s already seen several interesting applications for Google Glass in health care settings. “They cover a pretty wide range,” he said. “In the surgery, it can be used as a tool for medical education. The doctor can transmit a first-person point of view to the student; even if you’re standing right next to the doctor in the surgery, it’s hard to see what’s going on.”
“Another application has been for documenting procedures,” he said.
But Google Glass medical applications have already gotten more interesting than even Parviz may know.
Augmedix has designed a Glass-based system that’s designed to take much of the paperwork and documentation time out of the practice of medicine. The camera on the glasses constantly records the audio and video of what the doctor is doing; it then later pulls the data from the footage that’s needed to fill out the fields in the electronic patient record.
Another startup, Wearable Intelligence, has developed a Glass-based system that delivers key clinical information like patient updates and reminders to the inside of the wearable worn by the doctor.
Those are two key pain points in the physician’s day: on the one hand, the desire to practice medicine and do far less paperwork, and on the other the desire to have all needed information when and where it’s needed.