Google Glass comes in for a lot of derision in tech circles. It’s nerdy, distrasting, obnoxious and of questionnable value. Sort of like Twitter in its early days.

But listening to Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) CIO John Halamka last week shed some light about how Glass can be a life saver. Literally.

“There have been lifesaving events because of mobile computing,” said Hamlaka. He gave the example of a patient about to get shot when an alert came up the display informing the clinician of an life threatening allergy. The shot was not given and the worst did not happen.

I am not sure in this case if the information  came on a strategically placed display or in Google Glass, but the point remains: point-of-care information in medicine can mean life or death.

“The idea (with Glass) is that I do not have to grab the iPad or iPhone. Rather, something will give me alerts and reminders about urgent and critical issues,” explained Halamka. Glass is also hands free and cleaner than iPhones or iPads, which are continually touched.

Even a lay person can see that Glass or wearables of some sort could work well in hospital and medical settings. Cops, soldiers, firefighters, EMTs also need critical information in realtime. Imagine how unnverving it would be when a cop donning Glass walks up to your car and hands you a speeding ticket (ok, no Glass when driving).

There’s many professions where Glass or a Glass-like device could be not only useful, but critical.

Glass’ purpose seems little different than the helmet mike soldiers wear in combat – delivering information that can save lives and in the soldier’s case, turn the tide of battle.   

What confuses the issue are folks who wear Glass with no particular purpose. The people wearing Glass seems to be celebrities or media types trying out the technology. Just as with the PC in the early days, work environments is where Glass will get traction if it’s actually the wearable that will. 

I asked Halamka about the acceptance of Glass at BIDMC. 

“The ER, which is paperless, has been very tech positive whereas clincians tend to be conservative. I mean it has pluses and minuses. There’s not enough pixels and the user interface (is not good). Yes, there will aways be naysayers, but we will deploy technology  where it makes the most sense,” he says.

In medicine, the Glass paradigm would seem to make sense. See if you agree. Watch the video below.