The eyewear device Google Glass can be a useful tool in surgical settings, a promising research reveals.
In a research at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital of Westchester Medical Center in New York, an attending surgeon wore Google Glass daily for four consecutive weeks.
A daily log was kept and activities with a potential applicability were identified.
"We were overwhelmed to find that the technology was useful in hands-free photo/video documentation, hands-free telephone calls, billing codes and internet searches for unfamiliar medical terms or syndromes," said Oliver Muensterer, a pediatric surgeon at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital.
The researchers obtained a Glass device through Google's explorer programme.
"We are just beginning to explore the functionality of this new device in medicine and surgery," Muensterer added.
Glass is essentially a head-worn computer with a screen, camera, microphone and audio transmitter, which is controlled by voice commands.
"This allows a surgeon to interact with the device without breaking scrub, even during surgery," he noted.
A big issue with Glass is how to handle patient privacy, particularly because the device connects to the internet via wi-fi and thereby streams its data through Google's servers.
According to researchers, it would be great if an encrypted version of Glass were available in the future for medical use, including the exclusive streaming to secure servers.
The study was published in the International Journal of Surgery.