Xbox and the Gamification of Healthcare

Gil Lalo
Gil Lalo

Guest post by Gil Lalo, director of enterprise architecture, C/D/H.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 ranks among the best-selling game consoles in the world , and its latest iteration, Xbox One, comes with a much faster processor, tight integration with Skype, voice recognition capabilities and an amazing motion sensitive camera attachment called the Kinect.

Aside from gaming, the device has shown remarkable promise in healthcare as creativity meets practicality and talented people from various clinical disciplines develop applications that exploit some native Xbox platform features. Here are some recent examples:

Long-distance Stroke Rehabilitation

Software company Jintronix uses the Microsoft Kinect software development kit (SDK) to capture movement from the body’s 48 skeletal points on a 3-D camera. With Kinect’s capture technology, Jintronix and Microsoft’s Stroke Recovery system created cost-effective programs for clinicians and patients. Therapists can use them at the office to see more patients at a time, and patients get cheaper, efficient therapy sessions in the convenience of their own homes.

Microsoft’s Stroke Recovery with Kinect has three main programs: one evaluates manual dexterity and coordination with a timed game in which patients pick up blocks and place them in a box; another challenges them to achieve a target body position; the third is an outer-space game that assesses reflexes. All three provide immediate scores and reinforcement.

Maintaining a Sterile Environment in the Operating Room

The Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Canada is one hospital already using Kinect in its operating rooms to reduce hygiene and infection issues. The contactless control of Kinect is enabling doctors and surgeons to view patient notes, scans and x-ray images without touching surfaces, such as a computer mouse or keyboard, which could be infected with bacteria. This has reduced time spent on standard operations and procedures as doctors can wash and disinfect their hands less frequently.

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