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When confronted with a serious health problem people need information to understand their condition and make intelligent decisions about treatment. The most desirable method for becoming informed is through personal dialogue with knowledgeable health professionals, but their time is usually limited.
To help women obtain basic information about breast
cancer, IDI has developed the Virtual Conversations® Breast Health Information
program, which allows patients to interview an oncologist, a nurse practitioner,
and a breast cancer survivor about breast cancer,
mammography, biopsy, and other topics related to breast health.
The oncologist answers questions that women frequently ask, such as What exactly is a mammogram? Does a mammogram pose risks? What if I have an abnormality? Is a lump always cancer? and many others. The dynamic intelligent prompting method contained in every Virtual Conversations® program displays a continuous stream of questions for the patient to ask.
The session is controlled entirely by the patient, so the information can be absorbed at the individuals own pace. The questions may be asked in any order, and the answers can be repeated as many times as necessary. Direct eye contact and give-and-take dialogue between the patient and virtual physician create a feeling of personal connection that users find comforting. There is enough information on the CD-ROM for the patient to conduct a meaningful, uninterrupted conversation with the knowledgeable physician for over an hour.
The program also includes actual mammography views to illustrate abnormal findings; medical illustrations to clarify anatomical structures; and graphs and charts to convey statistical information.
Field tests of the Breast Health Information program have
demonstrated that patients leave the interactive session with new insights and a better
understanding of the topic; and that, armed with this knowledge, they feel better prepared
to discuss their situation with their own physician and make informed decisions about
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