Everyone’s a Paramedic with Google Glass

As you know, we’ve been pretty high on Google Glasses on this blog. Katie’s written a few articles about it including: “Google Glasses: The Future of Healthcare?” and “Goggles Suggested for Stroke Monitoring“. I’ve said before that whether Google Glass is the product that will win this category, the idea of always on computing that is available to you in real time with little to no interaction is indeed a game changing technology. Google or someone is going to get this right and it’s going to change so many things for the good.

I heard a really simple example that illustrates this idea. Imagine a Google Glass 911 service. The first thing they teach you in First Aid and CPR is to ask someone near by to call 911. Think about how that simple task changes with Google Glass. Hands free, the person could approach the injured victim and with their voice say, “Ok Glass. Dial 911.” Instant connection to a 911 operator who will have a voice and video connection to you along with the GPS coordinates of your location.

This takes being a 911 operator to a whole new level. Now they can see the victim and can give much better instructions. Plus, the person helping the victim can administer care while talking with the 911 operator hands free. What a compelling use case!

Turns out this could benefit the paramedics as well who could have their Google Glass video feed connected to the ER doctor who can see and instruct them where appropriate. The ER doctor could give instructions to the paramedic while the paramedic works hands free. The ER doctor could even send the paramedic images or video of what the paramedic should be doing.

I’m sure we could extrapolate this more into many other areas of healthcare, but you get the idea. It’s amazing to think what the mature technology could do in this regard.

Before you get too excited about the technology, Charles Webster, MD (who I hear has a device #glassenvy) posted a great link to the most comprehensive Google Glass article I’ve found. For those not interested in reading the lengthy article, the summary is that Google Glass still has a long ways to go to become a mature technology and achieve what I described above. However, I agree with the writer that this is a device of historical significance. It’s a category defining product.

No doubt Google Glass is an alpha release of a device. So, we should all be aware of that and treat it as such. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten my hands on a Google Glass device yet, but no doubt will spring at the chance to try it. While glass is full of limitations today, as the hardware and software mature, I can see some really valuable ways I could use something like this in healthcare and my life.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • howdy John

    In time, Glass and Glass-like devices could turn everyone into a paramedic. However, I’m 99% certain that will happen long after we see Glass used in healthcare for other reasons.

    The #1 reason the “Everyone is a paramedic” logic won’t hold up very well is that no general consumer needs Glass. I’ve been sporting Glass around for a month, and my opinion is that it’s 100% useless as a consumer device unless you REALLY LOVE TAKING LOTS OF MEDIOCRE PICTURES. The use cases as a consumer device just aren’t very compelling. I’ve tried Twitter, Facebook, EverNote, NYTimes, Gmail, Maps, and a lot of the social shoppings apps, and none them were particularly useful. Most certainly none of them – or even all of them together – justify wearing around this funny looking thing all day.

    See my post on “You don’t need Instagram on your face” http://blog.pristine.io/blog/2013/6/10/you-dont-need-instagram-on-your-face

    But for healthcare providers, who can benefit from the device all day long, there are incredible opportunities for Glass. It will change healthcare.

  • Kyle,
    I might agree with you about the specific Google Glass implementation. My reference was to the whole category of Google Glass type of products and what they’ll become. I’m certain it will be a hit as a consumer device if they can get some of the form issues worked out (fold up like glasses) and the speed/battery issues improved. For now though you’re right that glasses isn’t probably a great consumer device.

  • Agreed. Many more implications for healthcare workflow to develop soon. Mobile ultrasound already helps with a radiologist’s workflow ( http://www.corestudycast.com/solutions/radiologists ) and I could imagine that incorporating the ability to view ultrasound images pulled from the cloud into the lens of the Google glass would be a real possibility, allowing technicians to free up their hands.

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