Google Glass in Medicine: Version 2.0 Wish List

Written BY

Emily Friedman

June 15, 2015

Written by Special Guest Blogger Dr. Yauheni Solad, Yale New Haven Health System

Without any doubts, wearable technologies have a great future in medicine. From remote patient monitoring with telemedicine to real-time clinical providers updates – all of this can and should be achieved in the near future.

Every day I hear more and more rumors that Google is planning to release a new version of Google Glass. I have been an active Glass Explorer and, like many others, encountered challenges with the current (or previous?) version of Google Glass. In this post, I would like to create my own wish list for the next release. First, I have to admit I am a little biased. I am a practicing physician, and I can see considerably more benefits with Smart Glasses in my clinical practice than in my regular life. So let’s make it clear – I am talking about the Smart Glass as a professional medical device.  Also, keep in mind that I am not trying to discuss my ideal Smart Glass.  Let’s be realistic, and hope for a decent enough device that can be widely introduced to clinical care, and then talk about the other futuristic features. Otherwise, as we unfortunately often see in the world of medical IT, even a great device/technology without a proper integration into the system is doomed.

Ok, let’s start.

1) Battery life

Ah, Google, please… don’t force me to wear an additional battery pack, not again. Google Glass contains a small 570 mAh lithium-polymer battery. Good from the design perspective, not good enough for performance. Overall, I have nothing against some additional accessories, but I don’t want to look like a cyborg, or change my Glass every hour…

2) HIPAA compliant version

This is a tough one. Yes, I do realize that I am asking Google to delete all of the “fun” parts of the Google Glass, but we desperately need that. As a Medical Director of IT, I do not really like when 3rd party vendors do any modification to my new devices, especially if it’s voiding my warranty. Not cool…  And yes, I have an option to lease the device from different vendors, but I want to have multiple applications on the same device. I don’t want to ask permission to upload anything from a 3rd party. Call me a control freak, but I want to own and control my devices.

3)  Enterprise WPA network connectivity

Plain and simple. Should not be so hard, but will save us a lot of time.

4) Better camera

For some of the use cases, the current camera is just not good enough. I don’t expect full 4K (though it definitely would be welcomed), but we need a clearer picture. Also it would be great to have a zoom.

5) More professional look

The current Google Glass look is a little too extravagant for a regular medical practice. Let’s just make it a little more professional.

6) Better microphone and noise cancellation

It’s a very disappointing experience when your Smart Glass reacts to someone else’s voice while you are trying to do something… Now imagine a crowded emergency department with dozens of Smart Glasses… You get my point.

7) Better hardware / Overheating problem

Overheating was a huge problem for Google Glass. During telemedicine sessions and any other heavy load, you can literally get burned by the battery section if you touch it. Additionally, it’s not very comfortable to wear when it’s so hot. So please fix it.

8) Better display

For me, the display is too small. It’s hard to read and almost completely useless when it’s bright outside. The overall size is good enough for small chunks of information, but too small to be practical. For example, to review some medication lists you need 2-3 screens. Not ideal. You have to constantly slide back and forth to read information, which brings me to the next issue

9) Better navigation

Google Glass is a wearable device, so let’s use voice and gestures more often. I wish I could change the default “Ok, Glass” to something more personal (maybe this will prevent others from talking to my device?). Third party libraries are great but, but as I mentioned, if we want it to be a professional medical device, I would prefer to have everything already in place.

10) Make it cheaper

$1500 plus tax makes Google Glass completely unaffordable for any widespread implementation. If we want to see widespread adoption, the price should go down dramatically. How low? Hard to say because, it actually depends on the device and its functionality.

Yauheni Solad, MD, MHS is Medical Director of IT for the Yale New Haven Hospital System, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Medical Informatics at the Yale Center for Medical Informatics, and the CEO of Curecast Inc. Dr. Solad will speak at EWTS ’15, sharing his insight on the technical challenges facing enterprise adoption of wearable technology. Learn more about him here and here.

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