Philips demonstrates medical applications of Google glass

Philips has developed a concept system that demonstrates how the Google Glass headmounted display could be used to help surgeons.

The technology enables surgeons to monitor a patient's vital signs without looking away
The system has many potential clinical applications

Working in collaboration with services company Accenture, engineers at Philips’ newly created digital accelerator laboratory linked the Google device to Philips’ Intellivue patient monitoring technology, which is already widely used around the world.

During the demonstration, which was carried out in a simulation lab at a hospital in Boston, the team showed how the system could be used to provide clinicians with hands-free access to critical clinical information.

The technology enables surgeons to monitor a patient's vital signs without looking away

The technology could, for instance, be used to enable surgeons to monitor a patients’ vital signs thorughout a surgical procedure without turning away. It could also be used to enable doctors to remotely monitor a patient’s vital signs or call for assistance from clinicians in other locations.

‘This research explores how clinicians can achieve better access to the right information at the right time, said Michael Mancuso, CEO, Patient Care and Clinical Informatics at Philips Healthcare. ‘It’s a first step in researching how existing technologies can be applied to improve the quality of life of patients.’

Areas identifed for future research include using the system to call up images and other patient data from anywhere in the hospital, and recording surgery from a first-person point-of-view for training purposes.

However, according to a Philips spokesperson the technology has a long way to go before it finds its way into real-life hospitals.

‘Currently, the concept is quite basic,’ they told The Engineer. ‘For example, the actual voice commands and interface need to evolve and be improved.  So we really need to figure out the limitations and the opportunities.  That is the next step for us. We plan to continue to gather feedback from customers, clinicians and other researchers. We are also dependent on the plans of Glass Device vendors such as Google but in the meantime look forward to starting the conversation about how to make wearable devices like Google Glass meaningful for healthcare professionals.’