A Spanish doctor has challenged the claim that the first live-streaming of a surgery with Google Glass took place in the United States. In an open letter to Dr Grossman, who recently live-streamed a surgery to a Google Hangout, Dr Pedro Guillén Garcia at Clinica CEMTRO in Madrid, states that he web streamed a procedure using Google Glass before Grossman, but “we didn’t consider that to be an exceptional achievement since it was no more than recording and sending images to our streaming server…”
The real advance, Guillén says, is the ability to live stream a surgery to an open audience that is able to communicate with the surgeon, a feat that Guillén accomplished a few days later using a Google Glass app from Spanish software company Droiders.
Medtechinsider spoke to Dr Guillén and Clinica CEMTRO’s Communications Coordinator Iñigo Espert Rodriguez about the chondrocyte implant surgery that was streamed using Google Glass. The surgery was streamed open and live, in contrast to the surgery Dr Grossman described in his blog, (and which medtechinsider covered here) which was streamed to a limited audience on Google Hangout, says Rodriguez. Because of the use of Droiders’ Glassters Streamer, a platform that enables the ability to broadcast video directly through Google Glass, it was also possible to communicate with a team of doctors 5800 miles away during the surgery.
While there are other ways to communicate with remote teams, the difference of using Google Glass is that the audience sees the operation through the doctor’s eyes, says Rodriguez, making it especially suitable for telemedicine and education.
“One of the most promising fields is in learning. Hundreds of students can watch the surgery and communicate. With this device you see an image from the doctor’s eyes. You see what he is seeing,” says Rodriguez.
“We had used Google Glass in other patients before the experiment,” says Guillén. “I liked the experience. I think it’s very interesting, this technique.”
But the potential applications for Google Glass in healthcare go far beyond telemedicine, teaching and as a resource of information (for example, a doctor could use the device to look up information during surgery). Google Glass also could be used to enhance existing medical devices. One of the first companies incorporating Google Glass into its devices is EPGL Medical Sciences, which is using the device as a display to deliver information from its Muscle Pain Detection Device to the doctor. Guillén is working on a similar application for arthroscopy. A few years ago, he patented the Wireless Arthoscophy Device (WAD), which enables arthroscopy without power supplies and is less expensive than traditional arthroscopy. Google Glass can replace the need for a screen (a computer or an arthroscopic tower) to transmit the image to, further minimising the equipment needed.
“It’s an excellent technique for arthroscopy. I like to work with Google Glass,” says Guillén.
Guillén and Droiders are planning to work together to further develop the device for use with Google glass, says Rodriguez.
“Droiders and Dr Guillén are going to collaborate closely in the future,” says Rodriguez.
The YouTube video below shows the surgery at Clinica CEMTRO that was streamed using Google Glass.