Surgeons Using Video Games for Better Healthcare



I came across an article about some Toronto doctors using the Microsoft Xbox Kinect video game console to manipulate and view images while still at the operating table. Typically, surgeons have to step out of the operating room, scrub out, and view the images outside of the sterilized surgical area, taking up to 20 minutes to view images. Using this video game technology, hospitals can now save lots of time leading to being able to operate on and treat more patients.

The integration of virtual video game technology like the Xbox Kinect can help the surgeons’ precision during a procedure, as they will no longer need to communicate with assistants to adjust and change images. The medical team was able to calibrate the Xbox 360 depth camera (built into the Kinect) to its medical imaging computer. This allows for the digital imagery to be manipulated by surgeons in the operating room with a wave of a hand. This will not only save time, but also could lead to less invasive procedures as well. Combining this technology with patients‘ electronic medical records (EMR) will help the teams in operating rooms improve the accuracy and speed of patient care if all of the data and images needed to evaluate the next steps of treatment are all in one place.

Overall, I feel video game technology could hold a huge amount of promise moving forward with regards to allowing surgeons to do more procedures, speed up patient care, lessen infections, and even preserve healthy tissue surrounding the “targets” of operations. In a sense, the medical team at Sunnybrook Hospital created a medical device for a bit more than the cost of a video game console.

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