HealthlinkNY: health education through Second Life

HealthlinkNY: using Second Life for healthcare education and patient welfare since 2008
HealthlinkNY: using Second Life for healthcare education and patient welfare since 2008

New York state’s Health Information Exchange (HIE), is an initiative intended to gather patient records from across participating healthcare districts and make them available to doctors, hospitals and healthcare specialists – and the patients themselves – as and when required, in order to greatly improve patient healthcare and treatment in all situations, including emergencies.

However, getting people give their consent to having their personal records and histories to be electronically stored and available isn’t easy. There is often a natural distrust of “big brother” type record systems, even when they are intended for the betterment of those whom they serve.

So how do you persuade people to give their consent to having their records stored and shared at the push of a button? HealthlinkNY has chosen to do so by in part using an infomercial filmed entirely within Second Life.

At under three minutes in length and produced by Pooky Amsterdam’s Pooky Media, with graphics support by Skylar Smythe, Consent and the HIE clearly and concisely spells out the benefits of the HIE programme and how it works. As you can see for yourself here.

Why use Second Life for a project like this? Because it is a proven, cost-effective means of presenting to facilitate qualitative patient education to those who might otherwise be unable or unwilling to access that information due to mobility or other difficulties. This work has been spearheaded under the HealthScape NY programme, initiated by Southern Tier HealthLink New York (now a part of HealthlinkNY) and which has been in operation in Second Life since 2008.

Over the years, this programme, which centres on a 20-region presence in Second Life representing various locations in New York State, has not only allowed HealthlinkNY to produce a range of videos on a number of healthcare issues, but also to reach out directly to patients by staging presentations on chronic illnesses, fitness events, and health assessments, and even interactive, health-based quest.

You can find out more HealthScapeNY and the New York regions in Second Life by reading my articles from June 2011, and January 2015.