With what seemed to be the demise of Google Glass as a consumer product, we spoke to a BMI consultant, Shafi Ahmed, who first used Glass to stream a live operation in early 2014 to get his thoughts on the impact of new technology within healthcare.
Dr Shafi Ahmed is a Consultant General, Laparoscopic & Colorectal Surgeon at BMI's London Independent and City Medical Hospitals, and the youngest member elected to The Council of Surgeons of England. He gained international attention last year for his innovative use of Google Glass during an operation.
Here, we discuss with Dr Ahmed how Google Glass contributed as a teaching aid, and the bigger question of how he sees evolving technology driving the direction of the medical industry.
What inspired you to perform surgery using Google Glass?
What I've always been concerned about is how I can teach better. It's been at the back of my mind now for many years that when you conduct an operation you are around a table, and may have one or two trainees around you.
In this tight space everyone is trying to get a look in, so I'm limited in how many people I can train. I can really only train the person standing next to me, and also remember I am really focused on the patient as well.
The other thing I think about is the medical students in the room who can only really see the back of me, and what they can see of the surgery depends on the angle that they are standing at.
This limits how much they can see and ultimately learn. I always thought we can do better in terms of educating these surgeons. I saw an opportunity in this new technology, Google Glass, to educate my students to a higher level in a more innovative way.