Contacting your doctor — through gaming technology

Gaming and health care

“I recently learned something quite interesting about video games. Many young people have developed incredible hand, eye, and brain coordination in playing these games. The air force believes these kids will be our outstanding pilots should they fly our jets.”

— Ronald Reagan (1988)

OK, so there might be more to defending our skies than getting the high score on Frogger.

However, there may indeed be a higher purpose to be served by video games than just rescuing Princess Peach.

The Irish Times reports that may actually be a medicinal use for gaming tech. According to the document, the game in Spain serves mainly to ease the pain. Patients with everything from asthma to diabetes to arthritis have been prescribed Xbox 360 games by their doctors.

They primarily use Tiki, a system by developed for Spanish health authorities by the technology consultants at Accenture.

According to the Irish Times, Kinect has a video camera that tracks a player’s movement so they can interact with video games without a joystick or controller. This means that patients can be monitored in their homes but also interact with health professionals without constant visits to a clinic or hospital.

Accenture execs tell the Irish Times that the technology saved $50 million during its first year by reducing the number of hospital visits. At least 18 percent of primary care visits in Spain’s Basque Country now happen online.

Sean Shine, Accenture’s senior managing director for health and public service, tells the paper the concept is catching on throughout the world.

“Brazil is beginning to look at connected health and beginning to look at a public-private partnership where they may get the private sector to invest to build some of that infrastructure and provide it back to them on an ongoing basis,” tells the paper.

“They don’t have the funding to provide for everything up-front but they want to see if they can do it almost on a month-by-month basis,” he adds.

About time, he tells the paper.

“I think we’ve seen a renewed focus on recognizing that investments in the IT and administrative infrastructure are needed, tells the Irish Times. “And that the benefits of doing that are as significant, perhaps even more so, than some of the clinical things that are being done.”