Thoughts on the Xbox One announcement

By | May 22, 2013

I’ve had an Xbox system in one form or another for a long time. I currently have an Xbox 360 in my home, and there’s a Kinect attached to it. We use the system for games and movies. Typical stuff.

Microsoft’s newest Xbox, dubbed Xbox One, is taking things to a whole new level. I sat with my wife the other night and watched the announcement as it replayed on my Xbox.

Some things that caught my attention during the announcement:

  1. Three operating systems. One based on the Windows NT kernel for apps like Netflix, Skype, YouTube, Twitter, etc.  The second is dedicated to games.  The third allows the other two to communicate with each. All this is designed to provide instant switching between apps. The demo was impressive.
  2. New Kinect. People in healthcare have been experimenting with Kinect for a while. After all Microsoft offers an SDK for anyone that’s ready, willing and able. Several groups have taken advantage of the technology. It’s surprising to me that no one in pharmacy has done anything with Kinect technology inside the IV hood. I fully expected to see something this year, but nothing has materialized. Why is that? Do you think any schools of pharmacy are looking at this type of technology? Don’t some schools claim to have strong “pharmacy informatics” programs? What do they do?
  3. The improved dashboard. This goes hand and hand with item #1 above. The instant switching, the ability to snap items and multi-task is pretty cool. I’ve been in pharmacy for a long time, and I can say without hesitation that all the pharmacy information systems I’ve used are nothing short of craptacular. Xbox One is an entertainments system that will most certainly cost less than $999; likely half that. It’s connected to the cloud and offers the ability for millions of people to be connected at the same time; as I look up from my laptop I can see that there are 87,043 people online playing COD Black Ops II at this very moment. That’s one game at 10:30PM PST.
  4. Voice and gesture control. Self-explanatory and awesome. Pharmacy systems should be voice and gesture controlled; packagers, carousels, robots, etc. The idea of using a keyboard and mouse on these systems just seems silly to me.

Xbox One could be an interesting foundation upon which to build some pretty cool pharmacy functionality. The new HD-capable Kinect with Skype is an out of the box telepharmacy system. The system could also be used to bring educational videos and games (gamification) right into the living room of patients. How about using the SDK to build medication adherence applications that tie into things like the AdhereTech smart bottle? And as mentioned above in item #2, Kinect offers up some interesting ideas for gesture control/recognition for certain pharmacy operations.

It’s exciting and disappointing to think of the potential for an entertainment system such as Xbox One. Exciting because the technology is staggeringly cool. Disappointing because healthcare continues to wallow in failure when it comes to technology. Crud, we still can’t figure out how to keep electronic records. My Xbox Live account knows more about me and certainly has more accurate information about me than my GP.

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