Google Glasses in Telemedicine
Google glasses are one of the most phenomenon technologies inventedin the recent past. They are wearable devices which are similar toeyeglasses and display images collected from the field of vision.They are some of the most augmented reality devices offering audiovisual experience as well as information related to location and theenvironment. Several features can be incorporated in the Googleglasses. They can be primary communication devices where the usercan access essential information. For example, whenever theindividual is sick, the device can connect his or her to a medicalworker remotely. Additionally, the user can receive travelinformation automatically upon entry into an airport. These devicescan be controlled through touchpad or voice command (Mankar, 2015).Although it is a relatively new technology, it presents numerousopportunities, especially in supporting telemedicine.
Google glasses usage n telemedicine
What are Google Glasses?
Google glasses are optical devices designed by Google X as aubiquitous computer. It displays information similar to a hand helddevices such as smartphones, in addition to high-speed internetconnectivity. Since 2013, when the prototype was launched, there havebeen numerous developments, despite several concerns that have beenraised against them. The hardware of the device is mounted on theframe. They mainly include the camera, display, and touchpad control.The camera can record both photos and videos within the user’sfield of vision. The display is the most important part of the Googleglasses (Firstenberg & Salas, 2015). It is based on liquidcrystals on silicon, LED and filed sequential technologies. Thecontrols consist of a touchpad and/or voice receiver which isinstalled on the side of the frame. The interface is designed in theform of a timeline which allows the wearer to swipe through (Nayak &Kotak, 2014).
There are a variety of software and applications that aredeveloped by third parties and available for free. However, there areGoogle applications which are installed in the devices, which includeGmail, Google+, Google Now and Google Maps. As the devices becomecommon, and its potentials unfold, more supporting software arecoming up. For example, some Google glasses have apps that allowfacial recognition, translations, and manipulation of the photos.While developers are authorized to install a variety of software onthe gadget, they cannot put ads or charge the user any fee.Additional features based on more advanced technologies have allowedthe wearer to configure the device to suit his or her lifestyle oruse (Nayak & Kotak, 2014).
What is Telemedicine?
Information and communication technology has an influence on allaspects of life. This includes accessibility and delivery of medicalservices. Consequently, telemedicine and telehealth will play animportant role in the future of medicine. Telemedicine involves theuse of ICT in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. In the lastdecade, it has undergone remarkable evolution, emerging to be animportant aspect of the health care system. This is due to itsability to increase accessibility of health care and dealing with thechallenges associated with staff shortages (Weinstein, 2014).
Although the popularity of telemedicine has been enhanced by theemergence of information and communication technologies, especiallythe role of mobile phones, it is not entirely a new phenomenon. Sincethe 1950s, medical center, and hospitals have been providingdiagnostic and treatment services through the telephone. In mostcases, it was used where connecting the patient to a specialist in adifferent location was critical. It enabled individuals frommarginalized areas to access the services of a limited number ofexperts remotely. Nonetheless, supporting equipment were majorhindrances due to their cost and complexity. This has changedprogressively over the years (Weinstein, 2014).
The advent of mobile phones as a basic communication gadget hastransformed telemedicine and telehealth. In the modern society,accessibility to telephone and mobile networks has increasedtremendously. This has been supported by the emergence of smartdevices, which provide a variety of communication solutions. Forexample, the smartphone contains features such as voice and videotransmission. It enables health care workers and facilities toprovide assorted health care services to patients remotely. Today, apatient can access his or her doctor from his workplace, home orassisted living facility (Weinstein, 2014).
Telemedicine and telehealth have huge contribution in the modernhealth care system. However, it is important to note that althoughthey are used interchangeably, telehealth provides more comprehensivehealth care services, while telemedicine involves diagnosis andtreatment. Both offers an option to hospital or doctor’s officevisit and therefore associated with several benefits. The patient canspend more time since he or she can access medical services remotelyfrom his or her home or workplace. It does not interfere with dailyroutine such as occupational responsibilities or childcare. Over theyears, exposure to contagious diseases in the hospital premises hasbeen a major issue. This has been eliminated by telemedicine whilepatients with minor clinical issues do not need to physically bepresent at the facility. Other benefits that have been introduced bythe role of communication technology include increased efficiency andreduced costs of operations and better outcomes (Bashshur et al,2013).
Although there are challenges associated with it, telemedicine hasnumerous opportunities in the future. This is based on the fact thattechnology continues to evolve, providing more solutions to thegeneral public. For example, the creation of affordable smart devicesand accessibility to networks and high speed internet can have hugeimpacts on the health care industry. There are several applicationsthat will enhance the role of information and communicationtechnology in the provision of health care services (Bashshur, 2013).
Telemedicine is likely to improve follow up visits in the future.Through software that reminds both the patient and the provider abouta due checkup, incidences of missed appointments will be reduced. Theapps can be installed in devices such as smart phones. This willenhance health outcomes and eliminate unnecessary paperwork. As aresult of improvement in medical technologies and knowhow, people areliving longer. The aging population has resulted into an increase inprevalence of chronic diseases. Remote management of these conditionscan be used to deal with the challenges associated it in the future.Appropriate use of telemedicine will be easier and cost effective tothe patient, and will reduce the shortage of medical workers in thecountry (Bashshur et al, 2013).
Telemedicine will also improve patient care after hospitalization.This can significantly reduce incidences of readmissions. Preventivecare is a critical aspect in the health care system. This is becausemajority of diseases can be prevented through lifestyle change.Access to community health workers through communication technologieswill play a major role in providing support and knowledge to thegeneral public. Telehealth will also improve emergency medicalactivities due to immediate access to instructions and reassurancefrom paramedics. Its potentials can also be exploited to improveservices at assisted living facilities. For example, on-call doctorscan be contacted whenever there is an urgent problem and offersolutions remotely (Bashshur et al, 2013).
How can Google Glasses work in telemedicine?
It hasbeen argued that Google glasses are likely to be the most importantportable gargets that will transform telehealth. Although the role ofcomputers and associated technologies in the modern health caresystem have been as critical as aspirin in the past, Google glassesoffer more advanced applications. In the near future, they are likelyto be an essential personal attire or tool for medical workers. It isimportant to note that from a general perspective, Google glasseshave myriad of application, based on the fact that they arecomputerized goggles. Secondly, they are not specially designed ormarketed as health industry products. Nonetheless, based on thepotentials of telemedicine and its implication in the modern healthcare system, there is no doubt that Goggle glasses are likely torevolutionize the provision of medical services (Firstenberg &Salas, 2015).
Some of the possible benefits that are likely to be brought about by include overlay of protocols to assistphysicians in carrying out emergency and difficult procedures,electronic patient data, and connectivity to specialists remotely,out of hospital services, and doctor-patient sessions (Firstenberg &Salas, 2015).
Despite their potentials, the devices are relatively expensive.Therefore, they will be accessible to individuals who can afford it.This is a major limitation to their use in the immediate future(Firstenberg & Salas, 2015).
There are several potential problems that are associated with the useof Google glasses. Although it rated as one of the most importanttechnologies for the future, there are several issues that have beenraised against them. The most important concern has been intrusion ofprivacy. Google glasses have the ability to record people, throughphotos or video recording, even without their consent. Also, itallows the user to identified strangers through the facialrecognition app. Other privacy issues raised includes the likelihoodof recording private conversation. Consequently, there are someorganizations that have adopted policies that prohibit their usewithin their premises. Their usability is also limited by laws insome countries, which prohibit the use of spying devices by thepublic (Firstenberg & Salas, 2015, Mankar, 2015).
In addition to infringement of privacy, safety concerns have alsobeen raised. For example, mobile phones have been one of the majorcauses of road accident in the modern world. The increase use ofGoogle glasses is likely to increase automobile carnage since thedevice is likely to impair operating abilities. Laws that ban its usewhen driving are not likely to eliminate the problem. Additionally,apprehensions have been raised over the risks associated with wearingthe gadget in public, since the user is more likely to be mugged orattached by criminals (Pathkar & Joshi, 2014).
Informationand communication technology have had a huge impact on all aspects ofthe modern world. This includes the health care system, whereindividuals can access medical services remotely through telemedicineand telehealth. Emerging technologies such as Google glasses arelikely to take telemedicine to the next level. This is due to thecapability of the device to provide solutions to challenges facingthe health care sector.
Bashshur, R.L., Shannon, G., Krupinski, E.A., & Grigsby, J.(2013). Sustaining and realizing the promise of telemedicine. TelemedJ E Health. 201319:339–345.
Firstenberg, A. & Salas, J. (2015). Designing and developingfor Google Glass. Sebastopol, CA: O`Reilly.
Mankar, P. (2015). Advanced technology-google glass, InternationalResearch Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET), 02(1), pp73-77.
Nayak, K. & Kotak, D. (2014). Google Glass: Taking WearableTechnology to the Next Level. International Journal of CurrentEngineering and Technology. 4(4), pp 2827-30.
Pathkar, N. & Joshi, N. (2014). Google Glasses: Project Glass.International Journal of Application or Innovation in Engineering& Management (IJAIEM), 3(10), 31-35.
Weinstein, R. et al. (2014). Telemedicine, Telehealth, and MobileHealth Applications That Work: Opportunities and Barriers. TheAmerican Journal of Medicine. 127(3), pp 183–187.