Cyberdoc Explains Medical Procedures

Science News, May 20, 1995 | Go to article overview

Cyberdoc Explains Medical Procedures


Imagine an attentive, caring physician taking half an hour to make sure you fully understand the risks of a medical procedure you're facing, as well as possible alternatives to it. Sound like a blast from the past in this era of managed care? No, it's more like the wave of the future, thanks to information technology. An interactive computer system unveiled last week may make your next visit to the doctor a multimedia experience.

The system, known as the Patient Advise and Consent Encounter (PACE), enlists touch-screen technology, animation, and an actor-doctor narrator to guide patients methodically through the biology and risks of 13 different obstetric and gynecologic procedures. PACE also describes alternative treatments. Topics include vaginal birth after cesarean section, tubal ligation, and breast lumps.

Like a CD-ROM encyclopedia, PACE allows patients to skim over familiar topics yet explore in more detail areas they don't understand. At the end of each section, the narrator gives the patient an "interactive quiz" to ensure that she comprehends both explored and unexplored topics. …

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