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Google Glass in Medical Education: Tristan Gorrindo’s Perspective


Google Glass photo via KevinMD.

Tristan Gorrindo is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. As with many medical professionals, he has big hopes for Google Glass – but says that those hopes may be a ways off when it comes to implementation.

“Glass holds so much promise, but in some ways it is so far away from being ready for primetime,” he says. “The next generations of Glass will address a lot of the problems we’ve had, but I have lots of lessons learned.” 

Gorrindo will join a panel on the power of Glass in healthcare at the Pri-Med East Conference in September. He’ll be joined by Stephanie Shine and Karandeep Singh, among others. We chatted with him about his hopes and dreams for Glass in the healthcare world, and what might be holding us back.


Gorrindo is a professor and clinician with big hopes for Glass.

Where does Glass have the most potential to change medicine?

The possibilities for Glass are almost endless. In general, it’s very powerful for clinicians to have real-time heads-up information at the bedside, right when they need it. Or clinicians could stream video to a colleague in an unobtrusive fashion. Within medical education, I think the real opportunity is in competency assessment. By using Glass, supervisors and educators will be able to observe trainees in their actual work environment and provide valuable learning and feedback.

As a medical educator, how do you think Glass will contribute to competency assessments?

Like I said, within education, Glass gives us a whole new way to think about how we assess the competency of trainees. We can observe them in an actual clinical care environment. In the past, this kind of assessment was recorded by cameras mounted on the wall or even direct observation. Or real-world assessment required a trip to a simulation center or specialized educational environment. What Glass offers educators is direct, unobtrusive access to their students’ real clinical encounters in real clinical environments. This holds the promise of being a very powerful new tool for educators.

Can you explain what this would look like?

This video should show you what I mean. When a doctor-in-training interacts with a patient using Glass, this is what the educator would see.

You say that Glass isn’t ready for primetime yet. When do you think it will be ready? 

The current version of Google Glass is great for concept projects, but there are issues – battery life, the current user interface, overheating, the requirement to be tethered to a phone –  that limit Glass’s commercial application in the hospital setting at the moment. That said, Google has a great track record for innovation and improvement and I expect that all of these issues will be resolved in the next few years. We should really think about the current version of Glass as being a tool for idea generation and inspiration; future versions will have mass application.

Join Tristan Gorrindo; Stephanie Shine, RN; Dr. Jennifer Joe; Dr. Karandeep Singh; Don Schwartz; and Carlos Rodarte at Pri-Med’s East Conference for a panel on the power of Google Glass in healthcare, September 13th at noon. Register here under “Ticketed Events, Saturday”.

Jenni Whalen

Jenni Whalen

    Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.

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