Glass – The Next Must Have Tool For Paramedics

Google Glass shows more business potential as a professional device than a customer device, and these days everyone’s attention seems to be focused on the development of those features.

For example, Lauren Rubinson-Morris, CEO and president at a Skokie-based firm called MedEx Ambulance Service, is pretty excited to be working with Google Glass. Her company provides transportation services to health care sites, hospitals and clinics from the Chicago area, and recently they bought two Glass devices that allow paramedics to live stream audio and video content from the ambulance to a doctor or to the emergency room of a hospital.

This new method of supervising a patient’s commute to the hospital can have a critical importance for his life. The patient could receive the needed treatment faster and his chances of getting better grow exponentially. Lauren says that during July, MedEx will start a test with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

However, MedEx is just one of the many health care providers in US that experiment with Google’s device. ER doctors from Rhode Island Hospital already use Google Glass to consult dermatologists on-call, for patients that have rashes, burns or other skin conditions.

This technique of diagnosing a patient during a Glass video call has become pretty popular and seems to work quite well for everyone. Videoconferences between patients from rural areas and doctors have gone well before the appearance of Glass, and considering all the mobility advantages brought by the device we believe that it can easily expand its features so that it would fit in any corner of the health industry.

Dr. Warren Wiechmann, associate dean of instructional technologies within the Irvine School of Medicine from the University of California, says that hospitals usually pay from $10,000 up to $40,000 for videoconference equipment needed in certain situations. At just $1,500, Glass offers a way better deal for them.

Dr. Paul Porter, assistant professor at Brown University agrees and adds that besides the low cost, Glass is really important for the health industry as it can establish an eye-to-eye connection between doctors and physicians.

The biggest challenge for MedEx tests will be to prove that Glass is fully functional in an ambulance as well as in an office. The atmosphere in an ambulance can be quite tense, especially with all the movement, sirens and probably patient screams. Dr. Eddie Markul, from the Chicago North EMS Region at Advocate Illinois Masonic says that if it would be implemented in ambulances, it has to work perfectly: critical patients can’t wait for the signal to go back up.

As soon as the hospital’s legal department will clear Glass, Illinois Masonic will take part in the MedEx tests. Considering that is still sold as beta technology, Google Glass doesn’t have any regulations to protect the personal information that would be operated with the device.

The Pristine company has stripped Glass of all the unnecessary apps, such as mail, social media and maps and resells the device as a medical device, called Pristine EyeSight. They already have a dozen customers, which include Rhode Island Hospital and MedEx. Even though the association with Glass is pretty obvious, the company aims to be seen as more than a Glass company, they want to be seen as a telemedicine innovation company.

Overall, every person involved in the Glass integration process is pretty excited about working with the device and we have to agree: from where we stand, Google has an amazing potential in the communication between patients and doctors, doctors and students, doctors and other doctors and so on. The possibilities are limitless.