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A. A Video Doctor Helps Patients with Risky Behaviors

Narrator: This is Science Today. Imagine an interactive software program in which a videotaped doctor fully evaluates a patient's smoking, drinking and STD risks and then offers advice on how to improve health? Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, are working on such a program called the Video Doctor. Lead researcher Barbara Gerbert says this novel approach towards preventive health care addresses a familiar problem.

Gerbert: Physicians are too busy to do a really adequate job of talking with patients about their risks and this doctor on a computer never gets tired, is never judgmental, never gets interrupted and instead gives consistent messages in a tireless way.

Narrator: So far the response to the Video Doctor has been positive.

Gerbert: We have used it in several settings with thousands of patients. They find the video doctor easy to use and over and over again patients are really quite pleased with using it.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.