Spanish health authorities have designed a virtual health portal for teens too uncomfortable to speak to a doctor in person about embarrassing medical problems they may have.
This service is available through the Second Life website, a 3D virtual world for teens.
To set the scene online, a young person can log onto the site and see an image of a consulting room complete with a virtual doctor and patient sitting in it.
From there, they can speak to a live doctor about their situation and will also be able to remain anonymous.
Dr. Rosario Jimenez is one of the doctors that will be available in this virtual doctor’s office.
She says, “Teenagers do not often go to see the doctor but this is an efficient and amusing tool to reach them because we can both use the same route. Even though they do not often suffer serious illnesses, they often expose themselves to risks which can develop into problems in the future.
This is a way to talk about their doubts about taking drugs or sexual relations which they cannot do in a traditional consultation.”
Other Second Life portals for chronic conditions are planning to open in the coming months. Future plans include dealing with problems of dermatology and psychology through a webcam.
Hmm, a virtual online world where you can visit a doctor instead of sitting in a waiting room for hours wasting your day. I have mixed thoughts about this. It's a pretty cool concept, but I'm not so sure medical advice should merge with the Internet through webcams. What's next, writing prescriptions in this virtual consultation room?