Congratulations to first year medical student, Florence Doo, for being a finalist in our MedTech Boston Google Glass Challenge. I’m amazed to see such talent and involvement of medical students these days in entrepreneurism. Ms. Doo will be flying in from Rochester Hills, Michigan to compete in the ultimate pitch competition. MedTech Boston interviewed Ms. Doo to learn more about what she’ll be presenting at the April 23 Google Glass Finalists Competition at the Boston Google Headquarters.
I’m currently a first-year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB). Although I’m originally from California, I spent six years in Boston – graduating from Wellesley College in 2010 with a B.A. in neuroscience, and then continuing on to an M.A. from Boston University in 2012. During my time at Wellesley, I conducted a study on visual distraction and built an eyetracker from scratch. At the time, it would have cost $10,000 to purchase one, but (in part due to student budget) we built one for under $200. Ever since then, I’ve been excited about innovation and engineering, especially to solve real needs in science and medicine. Once I saw the potential in Google Glass to reduce visual distraction for surgeons, I thought of submitting the idea for the MedTech Boston competition.
There are often many screens with visual information that surgeons have to pay attention to in the operating room. It would be useful to use Google Glass to focus on the patient without having to shift to see a screen. However, two issues arise: surgeons must stay sterile, and the images are often difficult to manipulate.
Operating room integration and displays are currently available, and such a system can cost nearly $150,000 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK133359/). A Google Glass product can alleviate this cost if it is able to consolidate information within a single framework.
Currently, surgeons that are independent (Dr. Parekh, Dr. Shah) or working at a hospital (like UCSF) have been featured in Medical News Today. While they agree that Google Glass has many benefits, they have also mentioned the earlier points – sterility and image maneuverability. If a voice-only method of image manipulation is developed, this can greatly help surgeons in the OR to visualize important radiographic images (overlay or 3D reconstructions) and improve patient care.
Surgeons will usually need to refer to images, both during routine care and also during complications that arise. Being able to view and manipulate images on Google Glass will improve space constraints in the operating room by reducing the need for large screens and equipment.
With this product, a voice-only image manipulation system, surgeons will be able to fix a particular image, and zoom / rotate / overlay the image (for example, fluoroscopic with CT) as desired, or flip between these combinations. Also, viewing 3D reconstructive images of pre-operative CT or MRI scans will be invaluable in areas such as reconstructive surgery, interventional radiology procedures, and spinal surgery. Again, while these are currently available, expensive suites of equipment are required inside the operating room; this Google Glass product will remove those barriers and make these images accessible to many more surgeons.
Also, Google Glass will be able to communicate with the teams inside and outside the operating room, to both serve as a teaching tool and a medico-legal recording device.
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