by Sven Larsen (@zemoga)
In the fall, we posted a video interview with Sam Yohannan, physical therapist and researcher, and Senior Physical Therapy Specialist & Burn Researcher at New York-Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medical Center. Sam had just presented in the Games for Health track at the ePatient 2010 conference, demonstrating and discussing his work on using games to connect patients in burn rehabilitation
Sams presentation discussed how he studied the use of virtual-reality gaming as an adjunct to traditional therapy to distract patients from their pain, allowing physicians to decrease their pain medication, lowering patients anxiety and improving their range of motion.
What his presentation drove home then is something thats even more important now:
Being connected means a lot more different things now than it ever used to, and you cant forget the new ones.
Sam discussed how being connected now involves gaming, and can have benefits so great as to be clinically statistically significant in a therapeutic setting. Here are just two examples in the past couple of weeks of new digital connections we need to consider and investigate.
1. Not so long ago, being connected meant in-person, over-the-phone, email and general networking. Nobody would have thought of video games as connecting people. But of course, they do. And when writer J.K. Rowling announced the fall launch of an online game/network site built around the e-book availability of her hugely popular Harry Potter series, millions of people watched her video announcement alone. Its safe to say the Pottermore site will be another sterling example of the connectivity created by digital technology in genres – books and video games – not traditionally considered participatory social activities.
Are there ways to use these genres, or others, to improve our patients lives? Are we fully considering how they use entertainment media in conjunction with their disease? Were used to investigating how they get information. How do they get amusement? How does that reflect the condition theyre living with?
2. Social networks are similarly part of the zeitgeist that nobody imagined would become so central to life. And the tricky thing is, as soon as one seems to have become a solid part of life, another one pops up and offers a better experience. Several weeks ago, someone could have said with confidence that the main players in this game were LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. But now Google+ has popped up – and while its only in the earliest stages of release, its causing a lot of conversation and speculation about how it could change the space.
Were just barely figuring out how Facebook fits in with our digital strategies, and thats not even getting into the changes that Facebook is making to their wall policies. How will a whole new playing field affect these decisions? For starters, we have to start making them faster. It does us no good to finally have an approved strategy for outreach on a social network… that people stopped using last year.