Google Glass Dermatology: Doctors Use Gadget To Look At Skin

Rhode Island Hospital is currently testing out Google Glass in a dermatology study.

Over the next six months, emergency room patients requiring dermatology work may participate in the study. As such, they'll be examined by ER doctors wearing a "stripped-down version" of Google Glass that will send images to an off-site dermatologist, who will review the images using a tablet.

The hospital is working with Glass-focused startup Pristine for this pilot study. Pristine's version of Google Glass doesn't include some of its core functionality and connectivity, nor is the device connected to the Internet. Rather, it streams live, sending encrypted audio and video information to the receiver directly. Photos, video and audio aren't stored in the Pristine version, either.

"It's every CIO's worst nightmare to have a breach or have video uploaded on YouTube," Dr. Paul Porter, the principal investigator on the study, told MobiHealthNews. "We really put a lot of time in trying to get the best possible conditions for confidentiality, picking a specialty that we thought would be the safest for the patients. In our study, [the Google Glass consultation is] over and above the standard of care, which is a phone call plus or minus a snapshot."

Testing began on March 1, and Porter says as soon as the study has 100 participants, he and his team will begin work on a paper.

The device's potential is currently being tested in other areas of healthcare. Emotient, a leader in facial expression recognition software, is testing Google Glass with its own app that's said to gauge other's feelings. The company says it hopes to apply this concept to healthcare for determining warning signs of illness. Last month UCLA announced its development of a Google Glass app that reads diagnostic test strips.

Should the Rhode Island Hospital study be successful, the hope is to use the device in other healthcare applications, including emergency response, pediatric consults and stroke care.

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