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Google Glass at Pri-Med East

Yesterday I zoomed down to Boston for the second day of Pri-Med East. Pri-Med is a medical education company with conferences in over 30 cities in the US, online CME offerings, an electronic health record software, and more. Now I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), but I am the market research manager for Pri-Med. And I had a special reason (beyond my regular research work) for attending Pri-Med East on Saturday: a special lunchtime session on Google Glass. 

The session came together through the efforts of our awesome Pri-Med team, Don Schwartz of VectorSpect, Jennifer Joe and her teams at MedTechBoston and Medstro, and some fantastic speakers. 

pri-med crowd

The room was packed with clinicians interested in learning more about Glass. All photos by Katie Clark.

First up was Don Schwartz who gave a live demo of Glass, sharing the standard functionality of Glass and showcasing various features such as wink photo, dictation to Evernote, and more.

Don was followed by Karandeep Singh, MD, whose name you may recognize from my post on the Google Glass event in April. Dr. Singh is a physician and software developer in his Nephrology and Informatics fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Singh is developing a Google Glass electronic health record (EHR) prototype, which he shared with the clinicians at the Pri-Med session.

Walking us through the EHR interface, Dr. Singh shared in a live demo what it would look like through Glass to navigate the interface – from viewing the location of current patients to viewing their labs, discrepancies, and other functionality which he equated to a “virtual intern.” 

There was a palpable buzz in the room during Dr. Singh’s demo and there were some great questions and give-and-take. Dr. Singh reminded the audience: “You can do this at the bedside, you don’t have to step out to do this, this is part of patient care.” 

Next up, our fantastic emcee, Dr. Jennifer Joe, introduced the panel and kicked off the Q&A portion of the session.In addition to Don Schwartz and Dr. Singh, the panel included:   

Dr. Joe is the creator of Boston’s first Google Glass Challenge, she’s the CEO of Medstro, Editor-in-Chief of MedTechBoston, and still regularly works in emergency rooms and urgent care clinics. See, superhuman.

Tristan Gorrindo, MD, a Child Psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Director of the Division of Postgraduate Medical Education, the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy, and Managing Director of the Clay Center for Young Minds. 

Stephanie Shine, RN, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurse and early Google Glass Explorer. Winner of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s 2nd Annual Clinical Innovation Day for her Glass in the NICU Project, which was inspired by her own personal story which she shared at the session (more on that below).  

Carlos Rodarte, Director of Business Development and the Director of Wearables and Biosensors for PatientsLikeMe, leading the exploration of information collected from patients with products like the FitBit, Withings, Jawbone, etc, and also how patients perceive and desire the use of wearables such as Google Glass in clinical practice.

The panel introductions kicked off with panelist bios and stories related to how they are using Glass and/or investigating uses of Glass in the clinical setting.

One of my favorite panelist stories was from Stephanie Shine. Last year, Shine had a baby who was born many many weeks early, and was separated from her baby for the little one’s first 18 hours. Her stress was lessened when family members brought Glass with them and let her see her baby (through their eyes) even as she sat in another part of the hospital.

She is now running a pilot study of mothers who are separated from their child when baby is in NICU. Nicknamed the “love at first sight study,” her team is comparing iPad FaceTime to Glass to see if wearable technology can lessen new mother stress (when baby is in the NICU) and increase bonding. Pending IRB approval, they are enrolling hopefully up to 250 mothers and randomizing them between FaceTime and Glass and surveying them regularly. Studies have shown that new mothers with babies in the NICU experience PTSD, anxiety and depression and the hopes are wearable technology can help.  


Pri-Med Google Glass panelists Stephanie Shine, Carlos Rodarte, Tristan Gorrindo and Karandeep Singh.

Shine enthralled the audience with a story of parents with a baby in the NICU and the mother was separated from the child (she in Labor and Delivery and baby in NICU). The father wore Glass to go and visit the baby for the first time, so in a way the new parents were meeting the new baby “together” as much as possible, and the mother was able to see the baby through his eyes, via Glass.

As the panelists fielded questions from the audience, many topics arose such as etiquette wearing Glass around patients. Gorrindo spoke about etiquette and usefulness of Glass with psychiatric patients, highlighting that it’s always important to be up-front and transparent as to why the clinician is wearing Glass.

Dictation to Glass was of great interest to the clinicians at Pri-Med East, including a fantastic question about how good speech recognition is with accents. Many questions centered on connecting to the patient’s electronic health record and what features may be available. The panelists were all in agreement that this is in the very early stages, but there is a world of possibilities. However the panelists focused on what may not be good applications for Glass in a healthcare setting such as examining an x-ray.

Additional questions included security concerns, whether there are any health risks in wearing Glass, and is it possible to wear Glass with surgical loupes (yes!). 

The session ended with Glass demos for any clinician who was interested, and it seemed like everyone was. All in all, it was a fantastic session, and a great conference overall! I hope we do more of these Glass sessions at clinician events as the doctors and nurses were a great and enthusiastic audience.

This post comes from our partnership with Katie Clark, author of “InsightsGal.” For more posts by Katie, click here.

If you’re a physician or medical student with dreams of piloting your own Glass project, apply to the Wearables in Healthcare Pilot Challenge that we’re hosting with Google.

Miss Dr. Singh’s presentation last week? Watch his presentation from the April 23 MedTech Boston Google Glass Smackdown here:

Katie Clark

Katie Clark

    Katie Clark is a hybrid market researcher/project manager/social media diva based in Portland, Maine. She runs the InsightsGal blog and works with companies large and small to help them tune in to the ”Voice of the Customer” through research and social media to create actionable insights to drive the business forward.

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