Health Programs in Virtual Worlds

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  • 1. Using Virtual World Technology to Deliver Effective, Efficient andInexpensive Health Improvement Programs Peter Mills. MD September 17, 2010
  • 2. Aim• To give you a better understanding of the relatively new area of virtual worlds and how they have the potential to augment existing approached to health promotion.
  • 3. Background – Who Am I? • UK based physician • Co-founder of vielife (acquired by CIGNA 2006) • Founded HealthyWorlds 2009 to explore use of virtual worlds in healthcare
  • 4. Context• The business case for investing in workplace or insurer funded health programs is proven.• However, in today’s economic environment, the challenge is to maintain momentum and improve existing health promotion programs while reducing costs.
  • 5. Employer sponsored Health & Well-being Programs Work• Presence of health risk factors predict future healthcare costs. (Pronk et al. 1999: JAMA)• Changes in health risk status associated with significant changes in healthcare costs (Edington et al. 1997: JOEM)• Return on Investment from medical costs alone 4.56 to 1 (Ozminkowski et al. 1999: AJHP)• Fewer absence days in worksite health promotion participants with ROI 2.3 to 1 (Schultz et al. 2002: JOEM)• 10% increase in productivity and ROI of 6.2 to 1. (Mills et al. 2007; AJHP)
  • 6. Employer sponsored Health & Well-being ProgramsPaper On Site Telephone Online
  • 7. Employer sponsored Health & Well-being Programs
  • 8. Web 2.0User generated content, social networking, gaming andcollaboration
  • 9. Virtual Worlds
  • 10. The SIMS – A Virtual World• PC game virtual world launched 2000• Limited in what could be done• Originally no connection with other (single player game)
  • 11. Second Life – A Virtual World• 3-dimensional virtual world• Launched in 2003• Created by Linden Research Inc (SF headquartered, venture capital backed)• 20 million residents (900% growth in last 18 months)• “In-world” currency: L$• 18-44 years age range (35% in the 25-34 years group)“By 2011 80% of internet users will have a virtual worldavatar” Gartner Research 2008.
  • 12. OpenSIM – A Virtual World• Open Source 3D virtual world• Many of the same features as Second Life• Like many open source projects many developers working for free with a community of enthusiasts• Gaining popularity over last 12 months“By 2011 80% of internet users will have a virtual worldavatar” Gartner Research 2008.
  • 13. Already an active environment forlearning, selling and entertainment
  • 14. How ‘HealthyWorlds’ WorksStep 1:Register, CreateAvatar & DownloadSoftware
  • 15. How ‘HealthyWorlds’ WorksStep 2:Attend “in-world”seminars & events
  • 16. How ‘HealthyWorlds’ WorksStep 2:Attend “in-world”seminars & events
  • 17. How ‘HealthyWorlds’ WorksStep 2:Attend “in-world”seminars & events
  • 18. How ‘HealthyWorlds’ WorksStep 3:Engage in selfdirected learningmodules
  • 19. How ‘HealthyWorlds’ WorksStep 3:Engage in selfdirected learningmodules
  • 20. How ‘HealthyWorlds’ WorksStep 4:Informally meet withothers like you in thecommunal areas
  • 21. How ‘HealthyWorlds’ WorksStep 5:Separate securebranded areas foryour employees.
  • 22. Key Attributes• Real time ‘Peer to Peer’ Communication & Social Networking• ‘Always On’, no time dependence• Confidential and secure• Global access from desk/home/workplace• Immersive and interactive environments• Controlled and private ‘Members Only’ community• Anonymous so well suited to dealing with ‘personal’ issues• Access to low cost, highly trained practitioners
  • 23. Virtual WorldsAsynchronous Real time Paper Email Web Blogs IM/Chat Phone Face-to-face Virtual WorldIsolated Shared Web Phone Email Blogs IM/Chat Webcast Face-to-face Virtual World
  • 24. A number of applications of virtual world technology in health care CIGNA/vielife Visualization of Health Schizophrenia Experience Delivery of Nutrition seminars Care provision, UK 2008Virtual Hospital - Simulated Patients Diabetes Education, Boston Imperial College: International Virtual University Medical School Association of Surgeons, Apr 2008 Sources: Cigna, vielife, Imperial College London, BBC
  • 25. Further ReadingGuardian Newspaper (August 2010)http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/aug/22/discover-virtual-worlds-revolutionOccupational Health Magazine (February 2010)http://bit.ly/9wPqE6
  • 26. Thank-you peter@healthyworlds.comHealthyWorlds http://bit.ly/healthyworldstwitter.com/healthyworlds