Using Google Glass in Surgical Settings: Systematic Review

Wei, N. J.; Dougherty, B.; Myers, A.; Badawy, S. M.

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 Mar 8; 6(3):e54


BACKGROUND: In recent years, wearable devices have become increasingly attractive and the health care industry has been especially drawn to Google Glass because of its ability to serve as a head-mounted wearable device. The use of Google Glass in surgical settings is of particular interest due to the hands-free device potential to streamline workflow and maintain sterile conditions in an operating room environment. OBJECTIVE: The aim is to conduct a systematic evaluation of the literature on the feasibility and acceptability of using Google Glass in surgical settings and to assess the potential benefits and limitations of its application. METHODS: The literature was searched for articles published between January 2013 and May 2017. The search included the following databases: PubMed MEDLINE, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO (EBSCO), and IEEE Xplore. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts and assessed full-text articles. Original research articles that evaluated the feasibility, usability, or acceptability of using Google Glass in surgical settings were included. This review was completed following the Preferred Reporting Results of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. RESULTS: Of the 520 records obtained, 31 met all predefined criteria and were included in this review. Google Glass was used in various surgical specialties. Most studies were in the United States (23/31, 74%) and all were conducted in hospital settings: 29 in adult hospitals (29/31, 94%) and two in children's hospitals (2/31, 7%). Sample sizes of participants who wore Google Glass ranged from 1 to 40. Of the 31 studies, 25 (81%) were conducted under real-time conditions or actual clinical care settings, whereas the other six (19%) were conducted under simulated environment. Twenty-six studies were pilot or feasibility studies (84%), three were case studies (10%), and two were randomized controlled trials (6%). The majority of studies examined the potential use of Google Glass as an intraoperative intervention (27/31, 87%), whereas others observed its potential use in preoperative (4/31, 13%) and postoperative settings (5/31, 16%). Google Glass was utilized as a videography and photography device (21/31, 68%), a vital sign monitor (6/31, 19%), a surgical navigation display (5/31, 16%), and as a videoconferencing tool to communicate with remote surgeons intraoperatively (5/31, 16%). Most studies reported moderate or high acceptability of using Google Glass in surgical settings. The main reported limitations of using Google Glass utilization were short battery life (8/31, 26%) and difficulty with hands-free features (5/31, 16%). CONCLUSIONS: There are promising feasibility and usability data of using Google Glass in surgical settings with particular benefits for surgical education and training. Despite existing technical limitations, Google Glass was generally well received and several studies in surgical settings acknowledged its potential for training, consultation, patient monitoring, and audiovisual recording.

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