Interactive technology is taking over the medical world at an alarming rate, so much so, that within five year you’ll be more likely to visit an online avatar when sick than to go to the doctor, and using your smartphone and tablet not just for checking Facebook and Twitter, but for filling your every medical need.
Telepsychology and Telehealth have already become accepted methods of medical treatment, with patients checking in to an online health website and discussing their medical concerns with doctors and psychiatrists over the internet.
Emails, chat rooms, videoconferencing, texting and Podcasting have all been adapted for therapeutic use. Advanced in gaming—most notable with Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox One—have given rise to new, video-game style therapies. Stroke victims, for instance, have used Kinect for rehabilitation. Even schizophrenia—one of the hardest conditions to treat—is now making use of computer programs with the new “Avatar Therapy.”
Add to all this the fact that people simply feel a lot more comfortable discussing medical concerns online than face to face with a doctor, and it’s clear to see that the old visits to the family practitioner are soon going to be replaced by online medical websites and avatars serving as doctors.
New advanced in Artificial Intelligence even allow for computer’s to interpret a person’s emotions, which is immensely beneficial to computer-based therapy. It’s now possible for a computer not just to provide pre-determined information, but to recognise the way a patient is feeling about their symptoms and to apply a style of therapy that is personal to the individual.
Meanwhile, digital services are offering psychotherapy and self-growth coaching. Examples include Mindbloom, which is a style of coaching based around video games. Users connect with one another in a way that has them mutually working towards therapeutic of personal goals.
The combination of the ease-of-access, the privacy and the availability of help is making online, computer-based therapy more popular than a visit to the doctors. In five years time, your doctor will be an avatar.