What Does The Future Of Medical Process Control Look Like Through Google Glass?

This post was originally written for the HATCHpitch TechStreet Houston contest, where Pristine won.

Google Glass and other eyeware computers will provide a foundation to deliver the ultimate process control in medicine. As doctor Atul Gawande has written, checklists are the simplest and most effective form of process control.

Broadly speaking, checklists should be implemented when the following conditions are true:

  1. There's a repeatable process that must be followed
  2. The cost of being wrong is high

There are an enormous number of areas throughout hospitals in which these conditions are true. Some examples:

Endoscopic scope processing

  • Preparation of complex drugs in pharmacies
  • Patient preparation for many diagnostic imaging studies
  • Wound care

Although checklists are commonly implemented in perioperative environments today - where the cost of being wrong is astronomically high - checklists can and should be implemented in every environment in which the conditions above are met. Too many patients are seriously injured or die every year from simple, preventable mistakes. If implemented correctly, checklists can save thousands of lives.

If the process of implementing checklists introduces too much friction into a given workflow, it's unlikely that checklists will be successfully implemented in that context. Although we've seen ORs implement checklists pre-op, the methodology is generally quite poor. Most ORs today simply have a poster on the wall. Paper checklists, although a step in the right direction, provide no guarantees, no checks, and no audit records that checklists were actually adhered to. Google Glass and eyeware computers more broadly present the ideal form factor to implement checklists into sensitive clinical environments. Using eyeware computers, providers can work through checklists hands-free, and can even incorporate rich media such as audio, images, and videos into checklists.

Our mission at Pristine is to shape a future such that in 5 years, we'll look back and wonder how medical providers performed their jobs without Glass.