Patient monitoring with Google Glass: a pilot study of a novel monitoring technology

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Abstract

Background:

Head-mounted devices (HMDs) are of significant interest for applications within medicine, including in anesthesia for patient monitoring. Previous devices trialed in anesthesia for this purpose were often bulky, involved cable tethers, or were otherwise ergonomically infeasible. Google Glass is a modern HMD that is lightweight and solves many of the issues identified with previous HMDs.

Aim:

To examine the acceptance of Google Glass as a patient monitoring device in a pediatric anesthesia context at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Australia.

Methods:

We developed a custom-designed software solution for integrating Google Glass into the anesthesia environment, which enabled the device user to continuously view patient monitoring parameters transmitted wirelessly from the anesthesia workstation.

Results:

A total of 40 anesthetists were included in the study. Each anesthetist used the device for the duration of a theater list. We found 90% of anesthetists trialing the device agreed that it was comfortable to wear, 86% agreed the device was easy to read, and 82.5% agreed the device was not distracting. In 75% of cases, anesthetists reported unprompted that they were comfortable using the device in theater. Anesthetists reported that they would use the device again in 76% of cases, and indicated that they would recommend the device to a colleague in 58% of cases.

Conclusion:

Given the pilot nature of this study, we consider these results highly favorable. Anesthetists readily accepted Google Glass in the anesthetic environment, with further enhancements to device software, rather than hardware, now being the barrier to adoption. There are a number of applications for HMDs in pediatric anesthesia.

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