By Pamela Lewis Dolan, AMNews staff. Sept. 8, 2008.
In Second Life, a computer world where just about anything goes, several physicians and health care professionals are finding that “anything” can include work that makes real life easier for themselves, their colleagues and their patients.
But in a world void of the laws and protections governing real-life medical professionals, taking advantage of the opportunities a virtual world offers comes with risks.
“There’s more to it than ‘Hey, this is a very cool application,’ ” said Maurice Ramirez, DO, PhD, president and founder of the Orlando, Fla., consulting firm High Alert. “Done right, this could solve a myriad of problems. Done wrong, it is a security nightmare to not only patients but to doctors.”
Reporter Pamela Lewis Dolan crossed between real life and virtual life for this story on the medical-related activity in the online 3-D world inhabited by millions since San Francisco-based Linden Lab launched Second Life in 2003 (www.secondlife.com).
Passages in italics indicate Dolan is navigating Second Life as Annastasia Blaisdale, her avatar, or online character. Straight type represents Dolan writing as herself. In both worlds, everyone to whom Dolan — or Blaisdale — spoke was aware of her real name and her status as an AMNews staff reporter.
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