Following iPad rollout, UC Irvine medical students get Google Glass

By Jonah Comstock

google glassMore evidence that, at least where doctors at the point of care are concerned, Google Glass is the new iPad: UC Irvine, one of the first medical schools to issue iPads to its students, is now equipping them with Google Glass as well.

The school won't be equipping each freshman with a $1,500 Glass device like it did with iPads. Instead, the program will have a total of 30 to 40 Glass units on hand, 10 for third and fourth-year students to use in the operating room and emergency department and the rest for first and second-year students to use in the classroom.

“I believe digital technology will let us bring a more impactful and relevant clinical learning experience to our students,” Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of medicine, said in a statement. “Our use of Google Glass is in keeping with our pioneering efforts to enhance student education with digital technologies – such as our iPad-based iMedEd Initiative, point-of-care ultrasound training and medical simulation. Enabling our students to become adept at a variety of digital technologies fits perfectly into the ongoing evolution of healthcare into a more personalized, participatory, home-based and digitally driven endeavor.” 

UC Irvine has already begun piloting Google Glass in "operating rooms, intensive care units and the emergency department in order to assess its impact on physician efficiency and patient safety," according to a release from the University. In order to make Glass HIPAA compliant, UC Irvine is working with startup Pristine, one of several Google Glass-focused startups.

In the classroom, Glass will allow professors to transmit first person-recordings of medical procedures or examinations to their class. Students will also be able to use Glass for their coursework, potentially having a faculty member provide guidance to a student in realtime. Students will use Glass in anatomy labs, the medical simulation center, the ultrasound institute, the clinical skills center and even the basic science lecture hall. Another potential application is giving Glass to patients to record the visit from their perspective, allowing students to learn more about the patient experience.

“Medical education has always been very visual and very demonstrative, and Glass has enormous potential to positively impact the way we can educate physicians in real time,” Dr. Warren Wiechmann, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine and associate dean of instructional technologies, who will oversee program, said in a statement. “Indeed, all of medicine is based on ‘seeing,’ not ‘reading,’ the patient.”