Use of Computer Videogames for Psychological and Medical Purposes – I

A research and product development proposal

Use of the computer games in Psychology.

Many psychological tests are being implemented in personal computers, and some have a game-like interface. Videogame-like psychological tests are easy to implement in children and in adults with a negative attitude to conventional tests. These tests are currently applied to eye-visual coordination, manual abilities and a few other parameters, some of them related to intelligence, attitudes or values.
Games can be very addictive, and youngsters can spend too many hours in front of them. Standard videogames are not commonly used as tests, because they do not test a single parameter, but a complex set of mental and physical abilities. Videogames usually display a single score at the end of a session that reflects overall performance or completion of levels, disregarding most other parameters that could have psychological value.
A standardized data collection module , like the one proposed in this project, could transform most current games in multivariable psychological tests. These tests could acquire diagnostic value with the availability of a large data base of reference results. This data base would allow each individual to be compared with other players of similar conditions (age, sex, exposure to videogames).
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Privacy concerns over EMR systems

I was researching EMRs for a Congress presentation, as I mentioned before, and the privacy concerns were among the top issues for both doctors and medical administrators.
It is known that Google and Microsoft are making progress with their products, expecting everyone to have online EMRs in short time. It caused me a little trouble to try them, because they are only available in the USA, and I had to browse them with a proxy.
It is known that Microsoft has a very limited online EMR, HealthVault, but they purchased Amalga, a top-level EMR solution and they are trying it in several US hospitals. Amalga comes from “amalgamate”, or unite, because it unites several sources of medical information about a single patient.
Google Health has also a limited version online, but they are working on a full solution. The question is about the future free EMR from Google. Will it have Adsense ads?
How will anyone feel checking his own EMR on Google and finding ads related to his condition? It will be ok if the guy is diabetic and finds ads about insulin syringes. But what if he has terminal cancer and finds ads about coffins and private cemeteries?
Sorry for being blunt. It just came first to my mind.
free EMR by Goog

Medical Knowledge Marketplace

Imagine a situation where a complicated case is exposed to an unexperienced doctor, far from a high complexity center.
Today, the universal EMR is very uncommon. Even when broad-band Internet connections are widely available in most cities, most patients do not have access to their medical records. However, let ‘s assume that this patient has his data online. The physically-present doctor does not have a marketplace where to seek advice. He can maybe bother a friend once or twice, or even pay him. But this friend is no assurance of quality, availability or price.
Translation is an activity ideal for electronic marketplaces, because it is inherently international and can be performed 100% online. Any buyer can enter an e-marketplace and shop for an available, able, cheap translator.
However, medical knowledge does not have such a marketplace yet. This “medical knowledge marketplace” should have at least these features:
– access to a reliable online EMR (electronic medical record) for patients
– a doctor’s database, with a critical number of providers in any field. These providers do not need to travel to market their knowledge, because the transactions are essentially online.
– a companies database, ready to buy knowledge on given clinical cases, from doctors online. These companies will be validated in their contact data, and they will be required to pay any services bought thru the marketplace. Or face blacklisting.
– quality assurance service for doctors who want to validate their credentials by any necessary mean
– transaction platform, including bidding, alert mailing and auction

Other features present in current service eMarketplaces:
– forum
– contests
– tests
– blacklist of those who broke the market rules
– product offerings
– group purchases
– physical meetings

This market would be ideal for isolated places where no doctor would visit, for second medical opinion and for 3rd World doctors willing to sell their knowledge in the 1st World.
In the near future, it would be nonsensical NOT to have a Medical Knowledge Marketplace.

Working in the intersection of Medicine and Internet

I conceive the near future of medical care as a connected, distributed space where only a few persons have direct contact with the patient, and a number of consultants examine the relevant data and make recommendations. The eHealth paradigm will make medicine ultra-specialized, a bit de-personalized, fast and cheap.

The current e-business models are taking a while to enter the very conservative health field, but they will enter for good, with great impact and making big bucks for the pioneers. (us). For instance: 

– Telemarkets, where the patient demands service offers from all the possible providers;
– Auctions, where medical services/hours are sold to the best buyer:
– Social Networks, where doctors and consultants are qualified by colleagues, online, worldwide
– Expert Systems
– Advertising following the PPC and related models, using the doctor-specific channels to allow pharmaceutical ethical advertising.

Sergio 2007

A comparison of different EMR systems

From request from a client, I presented a paper at the Latin American Congress of Medical Informatics, INFOLAC, here in Buenos Aires. He produces an EMR product with some state-of-the-art features, and he wanted to introduce the subject into the med-info communitiy.

In parallel, I was looking for a product that I could use for remote consultation pacients. So, finally both lines converged and I had resources to do a quite complete research on the subject.

I was surprised to learn that, in spite of being in 2008 at full IT speed, most hospitals in Latin America and other places still keep medical records only in paper.

There is a nice opportunity to advance in this matter. I will soon publish the results of my survey on Web available EMR systems.