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2016-02-23

Virtual House Calls: The Doctor Will See You Now

Virtual House Calls: The Doctor Will See You Now

At Adeptia, our goal is to make things better — and not just by developing great integration solutions. We’re committed to helping improve the quality of life for our customers, our employees, and our planet. Technology has transformed our lives by improving everything from healthcare to communications. But we can all do more, which is why we’re featuring a series of technologies that makes the world a better place.

Technology is facilitating the return of a time-honored tradition of the medical profession: The house call. But one big difference between a 21st Century visit with your doctor and an older version is that he or she won’t physically come to your house. Instead, you’ll be able to virtually interact with a hologram of your doc, in real time.

In fact, telemedicine is leveraging the convergence of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and holography. Holograms are three-dimensional images created by illuminating an image with lasers.

The Center for Body Computing at the University of Southern California (USC) is one of the pioneers in developing personalized, virtual care solutions for remote treatment. “In the last nine years, there has been a revolutionary change in the way culture and society use technology,” Leslie A. Saxon MD, a cardiologist and executive director of the USC center told HSC News. “It’s about to happen in medicine…with hologram house calls.”

Saxon demonstrated the virtual house call technology in conjunction with announcing the opening of a first-of-its-kind virtual clinic late last year. Attendees at the USC Body Computing Conference were able to see the doctor live, and simultaneously watch her holographic image interact with a “patient” located in the Middle East.  

The proving ground for this new technology is at the Virtual Care Clinic in Playa Vista, Calif. This is where an interdisciplinary team is working with virtual reality, artificial intelligence, remote diagnostic tools, and other technology to connect doctor and patient at a distance. The clinic is, in essence, a virtual hospital.

Researchers are, for example, testing methods for collecting patient data from wearable devices and even injectable technology. That data can then be analyzed remotely to help physicians develop customized treatment plans for patients. The goal is to enable diagnosis and treatment to be done without requiring the patient to visit a doctor’s office or hospital. 

“The need for these digital health products, when their capability is fully realized, will transcend policy and politics,” predicts Saxon. “Wireless health is the one solution that puts the patient at the center of the health care discussion, and it is the one healthcare delivery model that scales. Digital health can extend the reach of our most talented physicians, preserve innovation, and advance technology development.”

The USC center’s work goes beyond virtual house calls. Researchers also are working on ways to leverage technology in order to facilitate chronic disease management, monitor sports injuries, develop games for physical therapy, and even provide therapy for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

 “This will be a clinic where patients can see the future — a clinic where the best doctor is always in,” Saxon said. “Technology will make us more human, and better connected to our patients.”

Greg Sandler, expert B2B content development and freelance writer, has worked on a wide range of business integration and web development projects. He also has written for hundreds of publications, organizations, government agencies, and private sector clients. In addition to editorial experience, Greg has extensive copywriting and scriptwriting experience. He also has both print and online custom publishing and advertorial experience. Check out his profile on LinkedIn or send him an e-mail.