Explorations of the health potential of Microsoft's Kinect gaming system have so far tended to focus on how it could be used to help rehabilitate patients.
But a new study suggests the Kinect could make a major impact in telemedicine, potentially cutting healthcare costs and reducing patients' hospital visits – and consequently the associated risk of infection.
The study's headline claims focus on the cost-saving benefits of the Kinect, which uses sensors to track body movements and register voice commands, but the technology could have wider-reaching benefits over existing telemedicine systems.
Writing in the International Journal of Electronic Finance, University of Arkansas' Janet Bailey and Microsoft's Bradley Jensen said gaming technology could be used to "teleport" the knowledge and skills of healthcare workers to where they are needed.
"The Kinect allows doctors to control the system without breaking the sterile field via hand gestures and voice commands with a goal of reducing the direct cost of healthcare associated infections to hospitals and patients," they wrote.