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Electronic Medical Records in a Virtual Hospital: Interview!

The Ann Myers Medical Center is a hospital in Second Life, the virtual world where we organize medical exercises and simulations. John Norris is more than interested in medical informatics and the opportunities provided by Second Life in medical education. That’s all you should know before reading the next interview with John Norris about his recent experiments to implement electronic medical records into the virtual hospital.

  • You’ve recently had some kind of experiment in Second Life in the Ann Myers Medical Center. What did you exactly do?

Ann Myers Medical Center is a well done simulation of a hospital. I wanted to try to bring to it the possibility of using electronic medical records and clinical information systems within the simulation. The ability to practice with the software in a simulated environment would go a long way in understanding, and learning how it works.

The technique I used to bring the software to the simulation environment has been used by others in different areas, and is not very sophisticated, but opens up the idea for exploration. Basically, I used the SL client help window to access a website with an EMR/CIS application.

In the SL client go to the toolbar’s drop down “Help” then “In-World Help”. One can put ULRs into the search window and that webpage will be displayed within the help window. In this way, I accessed the open source medical software site ClearHealth and used their demo.

I did not create an object with SL. Other avatars cannot look over my shoulder to see what is happening. (Although they could have their own logins to the medical application and access the medical data that way.)


  • Why do you think it could be useful in the medical simulations done in Second Life?

I think it can give a more fuller experience to medical simulations, incorporating medical records, scheduling, and the like while in SL.

  • What do we need to use this tool?

The SL Client allows one in a round about way, to access the web. You could do the same with a separate web browser.

More importantly you need access to medical software. I recommend Open Source Medical software as it is much easier to access. Some sites have full demos online, like ClearHealth. Other sites provide Live CD’s to download, boot up from, and set up locally. One does not have to worry about licenses, nor accessing servers with real medical data within them.

For a list of Open Source software try Wikipedia.

  • What are your future plans? Do you plan to take part in a medical exercise in the AMMC and implement it into the process?

The folks at AMMC have expressed interest in it. I have not been involved in their projects directly, so I do not know if this easily works into their current activities. I would be more than happy to help them set this up, but it is pretty simple once you give it a try. I’d love to know if folks do use it, and it would be fun to see it during a simulation.

As a proof of concept, what I did is pretty much done. I might try some different applications to see how they might look, it would be neat to access a PACS. Once/if there is HTML on a prim, or other easy ways to access the web in-world, then that will open up a lot more possibilities.

My current SL project is writing up a SL notecard to help introduce medical professionals to the variety of healthcare interests within Second Life. I will continue traveling Second Life as a healthcare tourist, checking out the latest and visiting friends.


A patient’s record

You can find even more screenshots taken by John Norris on Flickr.

It would be much easier for us to present medical cases with these tools. I’ll keep you updated about his future projects because his enthusiasm should be an example for all of us.

Further reading:

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. garry shafer #

    here are some video documentaries of doctors and patients using web technologies to diagnose, manage and treat diseases and conditions:

    one of them is about people with disabilities in second life.


    March 9, 2008
  2. Wow, thank you Garry! Nice video!

    March 9, 2008
  3. Web media on a prim is here with the last official RC client of Second Life. So, EMR In World : you can do it ! Texture of web page on prim and link to an internal browser at this time. And new improvements are following. To be continued.

    March 10, 2008
  4. mehran #

    please give meinformation about virtualhospital

    May 14, 2008
  5. I work for a company called Practice Fusion, and I’d like to clear up a few things about Electronic Medical Records.
    There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the security and quality of EMRs, especially applications that are free and web-based. Costly applications want you to believe that you must pay for quality. However, there are many high-quality and free, web-based applications out there. Google Apps. is just one example. I can honestly say that we deliver the best product and support at absolutely no cost, and with no on-site implementation. And that is why we are one of the fastest growing physician practice communities in the United States. We have outstanding technical support, and we pride ourselves on our “Live in Five” process which allows us to get users started within five minutes of calling. If you are interested in learning more about Practice Fusion, you can check out our free EMR. Also, take a look at what others have to say about us:,, and”>ZD
    If you prefer, you can visit the website and take a demo with a Practice Fusion team member. Give us a call at 415-346-7700.

    June 20, 2008
  6. I am very glad to hear about Ann Myers Medical Center.To improve the electronic medical records and clinical information system ,and The ability to practice with the software in a simulated environment is very important if it is implemented.

    June 26, 2008
  7. EMR #

    The Internet-based Electronic Medical Record System (EMRS) runs on the user’s web browser. This enables universal accessibility from a desktop, tablet PC or handheld computer. Just we have to choose a right EMR developer.

    August 13, 2008
  8. An electronic medical record system secures records with backup files in case of emergencies. In addition, only authorized users may access them. This double security system is a “preventative medicine” for record viruses.
    A well written article

    May 24, 2009
  9. Very well written article. This could happen in next few years, the way things are moving. The big budget announce by obama administration, the EMR soon would be in every hospital in US

    June 10, 2009
  10. It is important to keep the human health record in traditional and modern facilities and make all the possibilities to handle all the problems that getting raised and the right and clever methods to treat what required.

    March 2, 2011
  11. Anonymous #

    no function to this whatsoever – maybe if you stopped playing Second Life and got on with your job your EHR would actually be useful.

    August 23, 2011
  12. Please!…. If you buy from an auction the vehicles have NO warranty and there are sold in AS IS condition. If you have bad credit, call up your local dealership tell them what you want, how much you can afford per month and they have lots of financial avenues to assist individuals with bad credit.. . Americredit is very large and help people get re-established credit wise.

    February 7, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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