While we’ve heard quite a bit already about virtual worlds such as Second Life providing hope and encouragement to those with debilitating physical and emotional problems, a host of other health-related organizations are finding useful applications for virtual worlds. An article in the Washington Post highlights some of the more impressive applications organizations are finding for virtual worlds:
Medical schools are using them to train doctors. A psychiatrist from the University of California recently developed a virtual psych ward to help give caregivers a better understanding of schizophrenia. While across the bay, doctors from Stanford University designed a virtual ER to train new doctors.
Researchers are using them to gain insights into how epidemics spread. Two different teams are looking at World of Warcraft for clues on how people might react to a real pandemics after a virtual epidemic of “corrupted blood” rocked the online game.
Health groups are using them to educate the public and raise money. The American Cancer Society has set up an elaborate island on Second Life, where people can sit in on virtual lectures by doctors and attend support groups. They even raised $115, 000 through a virtual a marathon.