Xbox, mobile phone and App technology in healthcare – whatever next?
At the opening of MediCity in Nottingham earlier this year I was struck by some of the innovations in healthcare on show, and in particular the use of technologies I had previously only come across in my teenage son’s bedroom.
The company was demonstrating how rehabilitation therapists are using Microsoft Xbox and Kinect technology as an important part of the rehabilitation process for stroke and other brain injury patients. This got me thinking about these technologies in a different light, as a parent I had previously viewed the video game console as the enemy in my son’s bedroom encouraging unsociable behaviour. However with Xbox live and a headset glued to his head my son was at least engaged in dialogue, yes speaking, with his friends and playing team games such as Fifa football.
I wondered if another application for these technologies and games could be those suffering from a particular disease or the elderly and infirm who are housebound. Could Xbox live bring these groups together and encourage interaction, rehabilitation and brain activity, countering loneliness, potential mental as well other health issues? This encouraged me to look at other uses of these technologies in healthcare settings. In another pioneering approach in Spain the Xbox Kinect technology has been trialled in an operating room to help doctors navigate MRIs and CAT scans with a wave of their hand. Recently there was an article in Pharmatimes reporting that researchers at Newcastle University are exploring how Google Glasses might be used to help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their quality of life and retain their independence for longer. Mobile phone applications, Apps, are also being trialled extensively in healthcare with just one example being a personal health monitoring system which promises improved management of diabetes