Can Home Health Learn a Thing or Two from Xbox?

Video game companies like those behind Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo systems, though often considered games reserved for a younger generation, might one day find value in the health care industry.

Xbox’s Kinect gaming platform has long been heralded for its potential use in healthcare, particularly home health care, according to a recent article from MobiHealthNews.  

The Kinect virtually transforms an individual’s body into a game controller. Using a small motion sensor camera placed near a television, Kinect is able to read a user’s movements and gestures during gameplay. 

Last November’s launch of the Xbox One, Microsofts newest gaming system, takes the capabilities of the Kinect even further—with implications that can also benefit home health. 

For users of the workout game Xbox Fitness, the newest version of the Kinect has the ability to read a player’s heart rate by recording minute changes in skin pigmentation. 

The game can also record metrics such as energy levels and muscle mapping to indicate which muscles are being used during exercises—key  metrics that could also indicate a homebound patient’s condition via remote monitoring technologies currently on the market today.

While Kinect not only looks to revolutionize home fitness, it can also change the way care is provided in the home by offering virtual nurse visits, and by fostering aging in place and fall prevention, according to previous reports from MobiHealthNews.

Nintendo, one of the other top video game companies along with Microsoft and Sony, is also looking toward its first foray into healthcare, according to remarks made last week by the company’s President Satoru Iwata in a New York Times article.

Like Xbox, Nintendo also offers fitness games and said it had “quality of life” business plans on the horizon. 

Though the company did not explicitly state what those plans might be, Iwata did say he would disclose details later this year.

Read the MobiHealthNews and New York Times articles.

Written by Jason Oliva

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