If you had to design a Virtual Doctor what might it look like?

RP-7i Robot from InTouch Health a virtual Doctor dressed up to appear like a real Doctor

This “The doctor will see you now – virtually” story about ‘Virtual Doctors’ seeing Patients is getting lots of traffic in the US after leaping from the pages of the Cincinnati Enquirer to USA Today.

I think the term ‘Virtual Doctor’ clearly fails to define a remote Doctor because there’s nothing virtual about a registered Doctor caring for a Patient. Saying that I can imagine a day in the future when there may be virtual Doctors that can do a few of the very basic things that some Doctors still do just like the cinema chains use computer programs that provide ‘Virtual booking agents’ that can handle telephone booking lines to varying degrees of success, frustration and hilarity.

I think it’s interesting that we know Patients who connect with Doctors in a Hospital on a FaceTime call have no problem understanding what’s happening – “what’s the big deal mum?’ – but all the companies that are trying to promote “Virtual Doctors” seem to be failing massively when it comes to design. Instead of trying to make the Virtual Doctors appear like Doctors why don’t they make them look like they are more capable of doing the one thing Patients consistently say they want Doctors to do more of?

Virtual Doctor Prototype

With Nuance technology (SIRI) running on the iPhone getting better all the time perhaps it’ll just follow the design philosophy I shared at Doctors 2.0 last week in Paris: when healthcare is designed to meet the needs of Patients it looks just like a mobile experience…

Nuance natural language interface for Instant Medical History

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