LEBANON, Ore. – Waiting for a medical diagnosis could be a thing of the past.
It’s thanks to Dr. Brion Benninger of Western University of Health Sciences and Samaritan Health Services.
He’s the first in the world to use Google Glass and the Sonivate SonicEye finger probe to conduct research and teach medical students.
Paired together, Dr. Benninger can view a real-time ultrasound image in his Google Glass.
The probe slides onto your index finger, allowing you to put your hand on the patient for a physical exam.
“One of the problem with a classic probe, you have to then turn, look at the screen, hit a button and make sure it’s still the image you want.”
With the probe, there is less of a chance for error, but more importantly the doctor can maintain a patient-doctor relationship.
“When you poll patients and ask them what’s on of the most important things that you require from your physician, your doctor, your healthcare provider when you go in to the clinic, virtually all of them will say, I want them to put a hand on me and examine me.”
Dr. Benninger says it’s the human touch that patients want.
That touch can also allow the physician to better examine the patient.
“It will give the same information, I can touch and palpate,” Benninger says. “So, I’m getting palpation information and gathering knowledge. “Is this warm? Is this hot? Is it infected right there.”
Benninger says by seeing an ultrasound image real-time, patients can expect more efficiency and effectiveness from their healthcare providers.
He says patients will experience less fatigue and suffering, and medical staff will be able to administer aid more quickly.
Benninger says the linear probe can reach depths of 5 to 7.5cm. An array probe can reach depths of 15cm, which would be used on the chest or belly region.
The probes can be used to diagnose torn muscles, tendon issues, fractures, internal bleeding and look at swollen organs.
“Imagine that we could just put this on and say, there’s no point in sending this person to an x-ray. I know they don’t have a fractured bone. Or, I can see where the tare is at.”
The real-time image will also allow doctors to use Google Glass in surgery or rehabilitation centers.
Micheal Kahar, a medical student at Western University, uses the device to perform exams for school.
“It will just allow me to better diagnose and treat patients with more rapidity than we’ve seen without this technology.”
The device costs around $30 - $40,000.