According to a team of researcher from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and elsewhere, the Microsoft Kinect, which is used as a gesture-based game controller for the Xbox 360 system, has the potential to act as a telemedicine device and save the healthcare industry billions.
Kinect, according to Janet Bailey, Ph.D., associate professor of management at Arkansas-Little Rock, and her team of researchers, could “teleport” the knowledge and skills of healthcare workers to where they are needed. The device could allow these clinicians to work remotely in underserved areas, using the Kinect’s gesture and voice command capabilities.
The Kinect, the researchers say, could save organizations thousands on existing telemedicine systems that they say costs tens of thousands of dollars. They also say it could cut on patient transport costs and help lower the risk of hospital-acquired infections.
The Microsoft Kinect game controller could cut the US healthcare bill by up to $30 billion by allowing physicians and other medics to interact with patients remotely so reducing the number of hospital visits and the associated risk of infection.
"The Kinect allows doctors to control the system without breaking the sterile field via hand gestures and voice commands with a goal of reducing the direct cost of healthcare associated infections to hospitals and patients," the team of researchers wrote in the latest issue of the International Journal of Electronic Finance. “Not anticipated to be a panacea to the telemedicine environment but it is a powerful tool that can be affordable in virtually any community that has existing technology and communication infrastructure."