Scientists at the University of Arkansas, working with Microsoft, say gaming technology could be used to "teleport" the knowledge and skills of healthcare workers to where they are needed.
They suggest a laptop, a $150 Kinect and an Internet connection could replace or augment existing systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Such a system could cut patient transport costs for those who live considerable distances from suitable medical facilities and would also lower the risk of hospital-acquired infections, they said.
"The Kinect allows doctors to control the system without breaking the sterile field via hand gestures and voice commands with a goal of reducing the direct cost of healthcare associated infections to hospitals and patients," researchers Janet Bailey of the University of Arkansas and Microsoft's Bradley Jensen wrote in the International Journal of Electronic Finance.
Their Kinect system, dubbed the Collaboration and Annotation of Medical Images is, the researchers say, "not anticipated to be a panacea to the telemedicine environment but it is a powerful tool that can be affordable in virtually any community that has existing technology and communication infrastructure."