UW veterinary instructors augmenting teaching methods using Google Glass

The University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine is proving itself to be an early adopter by exploring the use of Google Glass during examinations and surgeries.

According to the Badger Herald, faculty members at the veterinary school have experimented with wearing Google Glass during surgical procedures because the device can record video and photos in high definition. 

Using the new technology as a veterinary teaching tool

Jason Bleedorn, DVM, clinical assistant professor at the veterinary school, told the news that Google Glass offers several advantages over using a standard video camera to capture footage. He said he can now simply record whatever he is looking at during surgery using voice commands, whereas he usually has to have someone take video or photos over his shoulder, or has to step back while someone steps in with a recording device.

According to Bleedorn, he has big plans for integrating Google Glass into the veterinary school's teaching methods. He explained that his students will soon be able to view his entire interaction with patients from initial examination to surgery through an online learning module he is working on. The module will include photos, videos, and Google Glass footage.

He told the Badger Herald that he also envisions groups of students being able to follow his work via real-time footage broadcast from Google Glass. Capturing point-of-view footage while he works would be more useful to his students than the currently used ceiling-mounted camera, he said.

Human medicine demonstrating other potential Google Glass uses

While the University of Wisconsin's veterinary program looks for ways to improve veterinary education with wearable computing technology, some intrepid physicians are exploring the use of Google Glass in human medicine, according to Sci-Tech Today

At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, doctors wearing the device can access a patient's medical records by glancing at QR codes. Doctors at other hospitals are using Google Glass for tasks such as consulting with dermatologists or other specialists while sharing images captured by the glasses, or searching for information such as drug names using voice commands instead of having to find the nearest computer, Sci-Tech Today reported. 

Although Google Glass is still in its infancy and hasn't yet been released to the masses, people like Arun Matthews, chief medical information officer at Texas Tech University, believe that wearable computing technology will ultimately gain a strong foothold in medicine.

“I dream about technology being seamless and invisible, but constantly present, anticipating my needs with point-of-care decision support — but getting out of the way so that physicians can be physicians,” Matthews said in a 2013 VentureBeat article

Embracing new technology to move veterinary medicine forward

Although Bleedorn said Google Glass still has some kinks to work out before it is a fully viable teaching tool, such as how it currently can only record short segments of videos, he said experimenting with the technology fits into his desire to speed the advancement of veterinary medicine.

"One of the big draws to me to veterinary school and specifically Wisconsin was to be on that forefront and be moving things forward ... I think we have a service to the animals to provide a better quality of care and new techniques," he said.

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