Over the last two months we’ve had three rounds of incredible submissions from clinicians around the country to our MedTech Boston Google Glass Challenge. Out over over 50 submissions, Dr. Austin Chiang is one of 12 who advances to the finals to be held in our Final Smackdown on April 23 at the Boston Google Headquarters. We interviewed Dr. Chiang to learn more about his incredible background and his innovative submission, “Procedure Bank.”
I am currently finishing Internal Medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia University Medical Center) before moving up to Boston to begin Gastroenterology fellowship at Brigham & Women’s this July. I was born in Southern California before moving to Taiwan where I attended an international school through middle and high school. From there I moved to Durham, NC for my undergraduate education at Duke, where I majored in Biology and minored in Music. Throughout college, in addition to my academic pursuits and applying to medical school, I became the former concertmaster of the Duke Symphony Orchestra. I also had the opportunity to serve as the deputy director of the Duke chapter of the United InnoWorks Academy, 501(c)(3), where I helped formulate a hands-on curriculum for a science-based summer camp to help invigorate local students potentially interested in scientific careers. My experience as an international volunteer to Bihar, India as part of Unite For Sight also helped put into perspective the discrepancies in healthcare around the world.
Columbia University was my home for both medical school and Internal Medicine residency, where I devoted myself to clinical research and identified an interest in Gastroenterology. My interest in gastroenterology stems from its diverse pathophysiology. Being involved in clinical research with advanced endoscopists at Columbia spawned my interest in minimally invasive endoscopic procedures that bridge the gap between internal medicine and surgery. My enrollment in the Brigham & Women’s gastroenterology fellowship program will hopefully allow me the rare opportunity to explore cutting-edge techniques, some of which could change the landscape of bariatric procedures.
Truth be told, I am also a social media and YouTube junkie. When the word of Google Glass first spread like wildfire across social media outlets, I was also ready and willing to be set ablaze. With sophisticated mobile interfaces, hands-free setups and voice recognition technology at its best ever, Google Glass seemed like a perfect amalgamation of the three. To me, Google Glass isn’t simply a substitute for our current mobile devices. Rather, it seems to be the next step helping enhance our multi-tasking abilities.
Not surprisingly, my mind went straight to clinical applications. In my imagination as a potential future proceduralist, the timing could not be better for Google Glass. It is likely that proceduralists (surgeons, gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, interventional radiologists and cardiologists) will naturally turn to Google Glass as their primary, day-to-day hands-free communication device. But to reiterate, my goal was to go beyond Glass as a cellphone substitute or a hands-free dictionary. I sought to identify how best to capitalize on multiple strengths of Glass rather than just one, in a manner that could previously have not been achieved.
“Procedure Bank” allows for proceduralists to film their procedures from the operator perspective – a feat that could not have been previously achieved assuming the operator would have both hands occupied. Even cellphone footage would not provide the precise vantage point of the operator. These procedures could be uploaded to a “Procedure Bank”, which serves to document complex cases and be particularly helpful for situations involving unique anatomical of physiological barriers. To take it a step further, input from other providers could help improve upon technique for the next time a similar situation arises.
Just as consulting firms serve their clients by drawing upon the experiences of other organizations, providers often refer to published case reports to see how others have dealt with rare and often complicated scenarios. To date, however, there has yet to be an organized equivalent for visualizing procedures. Being the YouTube enthusiast that I am, I envision a format similar to YouTube where videos can be searched by keywords. Videos from “Procedure Bank” can be streamed in real-time on Google Glass during a procedure as well, for additional guidance or teaching purposes.
In this day and age, communication has never been easier. Collaboration, therefore, should naturally follow. Google Glass is the first time someone else can take on the same perspective as the operator, and in turn learn from, critique, and improve upon the procedure. For providers approaching technically challenging situations, drawing upon the experience and expertise of others could prevent complications and thereby save healthcare dollars and achieve optimal patient outcomes.
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.
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