Last July, Stephanie Shine waited an agonizing 18 hours before she could see and touch her baby for the first time. He was delivered three and a half months early, weighing one pound and two ounces, and kept in the newborn intensive-care unit (NICU) for 101 days.
Later that summer, when Shine donned Google Glass, she turned on video streaming to show her baby to relatives in other cities. She started to think how incredible the device would have been during her time of separation from him, as she recovered from the delivery. In those initial 18 hours, she could have at least seen her baby as he was held, fed, and nursed to a healthy weight.
As a practicing nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Shine is familiar with the mental and emotional stress of women separated from their babies for hours or sometimes days during the post-delivery process. Now, she wants to bring Google Glass to other mothers in this predicament.
Shine is one of many healthcare providers exploring how wearing Glass can improve quality, communication, and education in hospitals. There has been a rush of enthusiasm for the device’s potential applications in healthcare, with more than 240 people attending an event on the subject in Cambridge, Massachusetts in April. But just as it is in the consumer world, privacy is a big hurdle to Glass’s acceptance in the hospital. Medical professionals testing Glass are getting cautious support from hospital administration, but they say the technology of the device needs to catch up before it can reach its desired potential.