Integrating virtual reality to expand the public health role of community pharmacists

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). Mar-Apr 2013;53(2):152-8. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA.2013.12200.


Objectives: To describe a potential future role of the community pharmacist in public health using virtual centers that provide immediate feedback to patients regarding behavior changes.

Summary: Community pharmacists would provide a comprehensive standardized patient-centered interview to collect pertinent information regarding patients that, together with a computerized body scan of the individual, would be fed into the virtual center to create a baseline likeness of the person. The virtual center then would predict the person's appearance and overall body health at a predetermined interval in the future, as well as provide feedback to the patient, engaging multiple senses and using an advanced body suit to represent changes in body mass and exercise tolerance as the person moves in the center. Pharmacists would work with the patient to identify patient-centered behavior changes, which would be programmed into the virtual center to demonstrate to the person how their new lifestyle goal may change their future appearance and health. Achievements and social networking in the virtual world would be incorporated to motivate patients to continue to make positive decisions regarding their health.

Conclusion: Virtual reality technology can be a powerful motivational tool that community pharmacists can use in a variety of ways to help patients implement and sustain positive lifestyle changes.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Pharmacies / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacists*
  • Public Health / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface*