ANN ARBOR---The University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center is launching a statewide network of interactive computer kiosks to link residents with up-to-date health information. The $1 million project, which debuts at selected areas around Michigan throughout October, was funded by proceeds from the state tobacco tax. The highly interactive system is the first health-related project of its kind in the nation.
The Michigan Interactive Health Kiosk Project calls for about 50 computers---housed in kiosks similar to those used for automated bank-teller machines---to be deployed in Michigan communities. It is hoped that additional kiosks can be deployed on a yearly basis.
Complete with touch-activated screens and custom software, the computer kiosks will display a highly interactive program, called "Health-O-Vision," developed and updated by experts at the U-M. Currently, there are five available channels that cover a broad spectrum of health topics and issues---breast cancer, prostate cancer screening, smoking, bike helmet safety and immunization.
"Our goal is to reach people in a way they can relate to and enjoy, so the kiosks will look and act more like interactive TVs than computers," says project leader Victor J. Strecher, professor of public health and director of the Cancer Center's Prevention and Control Program.
Kiosks will be set up in libraries, work sites, health clinics, shopping malls and other public areas, with a particular emphasis on reaching medically under-served individuals.
Strecher gives the example of a 50-year-old woman who expresses interest in getting a mammogram but is concerned about radiation exposure and finding cancer. The program will address her concerns by reviewing specific information about the low level of radiation used in mammograms and the benefits of early detection.'"/>