Embracing Curiosity: Google Glass DC and Future Health meetup

GlassDC and Future Health meetup at @kptotalhealth (view on Flickr.com)

We have never hosted a meetup event at the Center for Total Health (@kptotalhealth) until last night, when we partnered with the team at Silica Labs (@silicalabs) to host last night’s event “Google Glass and Future Health“. It was, of course, a ton of fun.

After the terrific demo (on his birthday) by Antonio Zugaldia (@zugaldia) of the Google Glass device ( @ProjectGlass ), we broke into small interest groups to network around future uses of the device. I think there was more Glass per capita in the room than anywhere in the universe last evening.

The physicians in the room, myself, Amit Shah, MD, and Rebecca Coelius, MD (@RebeccaCoelius), gathered a small group in the protoype exam room in the Center and had the most interesting conversation with our guests (You can see Amit in action in this series of photos captured by the Silica Labs team). It was less about the device, I think, and more about the ways we could collaborate together to improve health care efficiency, quality, cost, and ultimately health itself (well, not ultimately health, life). Should we work at the level of the physician or other health professionals? The level of the patient? Which part of health – prevention? illness? With what data and how do we get it?

I believe the same types of conversations were happening throughout the Center in the areas of public health, neuroscience, patient empowerment, innovation. All stimulated by a new device that we’ve never had the opportunity to work with before.

I haven’t really thought of new technology like this as a bonding and magnetic force, bringing people together inside and outside of the health industry, to solve important problems in health. Then again, I haven’t really seen a new technology launch like this before – different than iPhone in that it’s a new paradigm, with development tools available on day 1. For igniting curiosity about what health is going to be, and who we’re going to produce it with, the meetup was a smashing success.

I would also like to point out the catering finesse of Center for Total Health’s Erin Meade (@erinm81) who also made this the healthiest meetup on the planet (see the Silica Labs photos). Total Health includes everything in the environment.

One of the themes that appealed to me so much in the exam room conversation was about the idea of Glass or technology in general to bring patients and physicians closer together, by getting out of the way, while introducing important data to improve caring and compassion. The could be during a visit with a patient and family providing dementia care (thanks @sterlingHIT !), it could be during a visit with a person from a vulnerable population (such as a trans person or LGBT).

#ifihadglass it would use it to introduce more cultural humility into the patient physician interaction, to promote respect and celebrate the abilities of people to produce health for themselves and those around them. The Center for Total Health’s pair will be picked up on July 12, 2013. Come innovate :).


Ted Eytan, MD