Virtual nurse and virtual therapist – distant future or today’s reality?
New movies about robots and their penetration into our daily lives continue to appear on screens but we still see it as distant future. Let’s have a look at the real situation which has gone far ahead.
Today’s reality is that it is possible now not to make an appointment to see a therapist but just to open an app on your smartphone and get a medical consultation from a virtual nurse powered by artificial intelligence. It regularly inquires about your health condition, can receive data from different health measurement devices, understands natural language and send all the necessary information to your therapist. By date it can also give interpretation of some simple symptoms, remind you to take medicine, connect you with your doctor and make an online appointment. Developers already have large and well-known partners in the US and in Asia, so that we can expect promotion of their product by leading medical institutions soon. By the way, you can download this app free of charge on AppStore or GooglePlay. The name is Sensely.
Apart from a virtual nurse, chatbots are gaining incredible popularity too. Medical chatbots can also understand natural language, make a diagnosis and even prescribe treatment. Using bots, as well as using a virtual nurse app, you can make an online appointment to a real doctor. However, you will be charged for real doctors services.
These technologies seem to be a real breakthrough that can, firstly, save some therapists time which they used to spend on organizational issues and simple tasks and now they can use this time to work on more serious problems. Secondly, it can make distant consultancy possible which is crucial for elderly people for whom reaching a hospital every time is difficult. Thirdly, new tech makes medical transactions proceed faster and let medical data quickly reach a doctor which leads to more effective patient’s monitoring and treatment.
However, there are some problems which hold back fast implementing of the new tech. The most difficult issue here lies in insufficiently developed legal framework which prohibits transferring of medical data using computers and networks. Data security issue is the main reason why medical institutions still do not implement innovative technologies into their work. All this indicates the urgent need to modify existing legislation focusing on cybersecurity and private data protection. Since transfer of all medical records to computers is inevitable, it is necessary to build appropriate infrastructure which can allow to make this transmission without serious losses as soon as possible.