Here at MedTech Boston, we’re super excited about the April 23 MedTech Boston Google Glass Challenge for so many reasons. The Boston medicine technology and innovation leaders are coming out in force. Expect to hear from and network with Boston Children’s Hacking Pediatrics, Brigham and Women’s iHub, MIT Hacking Medicine, Google Glass New England, Tufts School of Medicine MedStart (MD/MBA joint program), and Boston Young Healthcare Professionals among others. Michael Docktor, MD, Co-Lead of Hacking Pediatrics, says, “Boston has so many brilliant clinicians in their world-class hospitals. It’s so exciting to see everyone working together for innovation in medicine.”
We’ll hear from four impressive keynotes. Rafael Grossmann, MD, the first surgeon to live stream a surgical procedure using Google Glass and Google Hang-outs on June 20, 2013, is coming to Boston from Bangor, Maine. He says that he thinks “Glass integration with the EMR has the potential to radically improve Healthcare. Think Google Now for Healthcare!” He also says that he plans to address his concern about the removal of video capabilities through Glass, and how this could “deeply impact its use in healthcare and medical education.”
One surprise speaker is Chris Coburn, Vice President of Partners Innovation. Mr. Coburn has responsibility for the commercial application of the unique assets and capabilities of the $10 billion, Boston based Partners HealthCare system. Representing Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and McLean Hospital, Partners HealthCare is the largest academic research enterprise in the ENTIRE UNITED STATES with nearly $1.5 billion in sponsored research. Prior to Partners poaching Coburn one year ago in a bold move to accelerate their ventures and licensing arm, Coburn was the founding Executive Director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations. During his thirteen year leadership, Cleveland Clinic spun off 57 companies — before Coburn’s arrival Cleveland Clinic had none. But what is Mr. Coburn doing at a Google Glass event? Does Partners (including the prestigious MGH and BWH) and their $10 billion have an eye on the new game-changing technology? Mr. Coburn tells us, “The inexorable march of technology has brought us from the paper chart, to the workstation, to the tablet and handheld. It will be exciting to see if Google Glass represents the next threshold in providing the caregiver immediate, interactive, secure access to the information needed to enable the best outcomes.”
We saw Dr. Steve Horng’s picture splashed all over the news last week, and we’ve read Dr. John Halamka’s blog and know that Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has been piloting Google Glass in the hospital environment for the last 4 months. We’re excited that Dr. Horng is joining the all-star stage as a keynote. Dr. Horng tell us, “What I am planning on talking about goes way beyond what I’ve publicly talked about on the news. The news is about a 10 second clip. I plan to showcase how our work with glass and artificial intelligence, clinical big data, and integrated communications is going to transform healthcare and how we think about technology in medicine. Our applications in development are quiet revolutionary for any industry. Depending on the multimedia capabilities, I may do a demo of some of these applications.”
Going back to why Chris Coburn is making a splash on the Boston innovation scene and Glass world, the Expert Panel will feature two surgeons from MGH–Dr. Ozanan Meireles and Dr. Daniel Hashimoto (yes, like the thyroid disease). Who are these guys, and why did MedTech Boston pull them onto this panel? Dr. Meireles, General and Gastrointestinal surgeon, and Dr. Hashimoto, General Surgery resident with an interest in surgical education and simulation, have been using Glass for an unknown amount of time (they tell me this information is still under wraps) on an unknown amount of surgical cases to evaluate Glass as an augmented reality telementoring tool for open surgery to assess and guide residents’ intraoperative education. Dr. Hashimoto presented the abstract at The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons earlier this week.
Dr. Hashimoto explains, “We assessed the the feasibility of using Glass as a telementoring tool with an Attending Surgeon remotely viewing a Chief Resident guiding an Intern through a surgical procedure. The Chief Resident was wearing Glass while the Attending Surgeon provided guidance from a desktop computer in another room. A second Attending Surgeon was in the operating room with the Chief Resident and Intern.” Selected segments of the video were compared to video conferencing feed obtained on an Apple iPhone 5 (1080p, 30 fps, Video stabilization) using FaceTime over the same wifi network. A large group of MGH surgeons then reviewed the two video recordings blinded to how the video was captured–Glass versus iPhone! The ultimate matchup!
Dr. Hashimoto tells us, “At a connection speed of 5 Mbps download/1.3 Mbps upload, Glass was was able to provide and receive video with acceptable lag. The heads up display on Glass allowed Attending Surgeons to show anatomy and imaging from their desktop computer, and hand motions to the trainees wtihout requiring trainees to move their heads away from the operative field.” On the other hand, Dr Meireles tells us that they identified two major concerns in using Glass in the operating room currently. First, the angle on the camera points up and outwards, which does not align well with the optimal posture a surgeon normally uses. Second…well, you need to come to the live panel discussion to hear more!
An inside source tells MedTech Boston there are a good handful of other Glass projects that have just received IRB approval within the MGH system.
Finally, let’s not forget Glass can also help the pediatric population! Expert panelist Gajen Sunthara, Principal Software Architect for Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation Acceleration Program and Google Glass Exporer, will unveil his Harvard master’s thesis–“GlassSurgeon.” Mr. Sunthara tells us, “GlassSurgeon enhances the surgeon’s workflor and improves patient safety by leveraging natural language processing using the hands-free features of Glass to access real-time clinical information through systems integration.” Perhaps Dr. Hashimoto and Mr. Sunthara will trade notes next week.
How many stealth Google Glass Projects are actually going on in Boston? You’ll have to come to the April 23 MedTech Boston Google Glass Grand Unveiling. Remember, you heard it first here on MedTech Boston. Please note that the Boston Google Headquarters has a strict security policy. Registration will close 48 hours before the event so that we can get everyone their security clearance, so be sure to register on our Eventbrite site today. Use discount code “MEDTECHGGC” for a $25 discount!
My passion is healthcare optimization, whether that is with innovation, making scientific discoveries, or improving delivery. I love bringing people and ideas together and making projects work. With this, medicine exists to improve lives, and I will strive to always help patients and those around me.