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Virtual physician smartphone app is coming, says author Robin Cook

Published on Feb 20, 2014 6:10 AM
Author Robin Cook discusses his new book Cell about the potential for using a smartphone as a medical tool at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, on Feb 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - It's just in fiction for now, but the "avatar doctor," a virtual physician which consults and diagnoses through a smartphone app, is coming, says the author of a new medical thriller.

Robin Cook, a physician and best-selling author known for his books Coma and Outbreak, says his new novel, Cell, foretells a future where a good deal of medicine can come through an app which can draw from huge medical databases.

"Just about every book I have written has come to pass," Cook told a symposium Wednesday at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington as part of his book launch.

"There are already 50,000 medical apps. If you put them together you can have an avatar doctor. And it's going to be pretty darn good." Cook, who has training in surgery and ophthalmology, said the virtual doctor can be superior in many ways to real-life medical practitioners by being able to sift through billions of studies and records to make a diagnosis and offer a solution.

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