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UC Irvine to use Google Glass throughout medical school

Dr. Warren Wiechmann, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine and associate dean of instructional technologies, will oversee implementation of the Google Glass four-year program at UCI.
Dr. Warren Wiechmann, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine and associate dean of instructional technologies, will oversee implementation of the Google Glass four-year program at UCI. Steve Zylius/UC Irvine

UC Irvine announced a plan Wednesday to use Google Glass to teach medical school students anatomy, bedside manner, and operating techniques, among other things.

“These are very exciting times,” UC Irvine medical school dean Ralph Clayman said.

The medical school – with 416 students now - will buy 10 Google Glass this month and another 30 later this year. A philanthropist donated the funds to buy the devices, which cost $1,500 a piece. One of their main uses will be to link students at the Irvine campus with instructors at the medical center 14 miles away in Orange.

Clayman believes using the computer-in-an-eyeglass-frame technology has the potential to make the medical school learning experience much more meaningful than it has been in the past.

He predicts Google Glass will replace the way he first learned surgical techniques as a medical school student in the 1970s. Back then, students stood on a step stool and looked over the surgeon’s shoulder. Now a surgeon can wear Google Glass and students can observe from wherever.

“If you could actually be in the room, and sit and see everything on your iPad, see exactly what the surgeon is seeing, that would be a tremendous benefit” because it would allow students to pull up relevant information on the iPad, he said.

He said bedside manner - the invaluable skill that involves listening, comforting, and interacting with a patient – can be taught by placing Google Glass on a patient and recording what the student doctor says.

“The feedback there can be immediate, it can be recorded and played back, a student himself or herself can see ‘oh this is how I’m interacting, this is where I need to improve,’ ” he said.

UC Irvine said it’s the first medical school to commit to such extensive use of Google Glass in its curriculum.

Surgeons have been using Google Glass in the operating room for at least a year and medical schools, including UC Irvine’s have been using the technology in an ad hoc way.

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