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Beyond VR: Creating the Augmented Physician

CIMIT/Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Stud Health Technol Inform
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Stud Health Technol Inform. 2005 Jan;111:574-8.
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Vosburgh K.G. Beyond VR: Creating the Augmented Physician. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2005 Jan;111:574-8. PMID: 15718800.
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The ongoing shift of high tech capability from the specialist to the primary physician and the merging of medical and surgical therapies will demand more sophisticated measurement and control, but more positively, it will be possible to differentiate each individual situation and tailor treatment to provide an optimum result for each person, for each condition, in each environment, if these could all be measured, understood, and effected. The effective augmentation of the caregiver's physical, sensory, and cognitive capabilities will require more transparent, nuanced, and adaptive interfaces to information and to its therapeutic application. While the enhancement and classification of digitized findings is a beginning, the key may be better tracking and presentation of the chronological course, particularly the prior events which set the physiologic or morphologic data in context. Systems engineering approaches will define paths toward optimized, autonomous treatment, where the most rapid progress may be made through functional partitioning using scale-independent models, and the delineation of intermediate stages between today's macroscopic presentation of disease and molecular-scale treatment. These stages will comprise the steps toward useful patient avatars; our task is to fill in, with successively more powerful models, the convergence of large scale and small scale information, as it is used to support diagnostic and therapeutic decisions.