Second Health is a virtual hospital in the virtual world of Second Life. The concept builds on its use by businesses and schools to allow people to meet and exchange ideas, regardless of their physical location.
The project was initiated by Ara Darzi, Professor of Surgery at ICL and Parliamentary under Secretary for Health, and has been developed as a demonstration of how Londoners might experience hospital care in the near future. The design of the virtual hospital in Second Health does not represent any single hospital or plan, but is based on the principles and recommendations outlined in the recently published ‘Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action.’
NHS London will be testing the effectiveness and potential benefit of using the virtual world as a communication tool to gauge public opinion and as an aid for public consultation. Second Health will evaluate new ways of engaging with patients, clinicians and the public. Visitors to the virtual hospital will be able to walk around at their leisure, explore its services, and over time, will be able to communicate with healthcare professionals live online.
Imperial College approached NPL, the UK’s national measurement institute, to help develop Second Health.
The Second Health projects involves the development of a virtual hospital, and production of a series of short movies, filmed in Second Life, that illustrate a patient’s pathway through a future healthcare system. The films will also be available on traditional websites and content sharing sites such as YouTube.
The Second Health campus could be used for educating the general public and healthcare professionals. Patients will be able to explore and understand different pathways of care and develop a better understanding of how they may experience healthcare.