Healthcare delivery systems have been evolving to rely more heavily on technology. There has been a shift in care diagnosis and treatment which has decreased the importance of traditional methods of care delivery. Technology provides new ways to monitor and treat heart disease, inflammation, infection, cancer, diabetic condition, and chronic conditions. Monitoring technologies and blood work are being used in combination with imaging and telemetrics to provide a real time, continuous evaluation of patients' conditions. In addition, technology has not only helped to extend our lifespan but it has improved the quality of life for all citizens.
We have put a great deal of effort into the definition of the structure of the volume and in the sequence of the contributions, so that those in search of a specific reading path will be rewarded. To this end we have divided the different chapters into five main sections:
1. Critical Reviews: These chapters summarize and evaluate emerging cybertherapy topics, including technology-enhanced rehabilitation, Interreality, and Intersubjectivity;
2. Evaluation Studies: These chapters are generally undertaken to solve some specific practical problems and yield decisions about the value of cybertherapy interventions;
3. Original Research: These chapters research studies addressing new cybertherapy methods or approaches;
4. Clinical Observations: These chapters include case studies or research protocols with long-term potential;
5. Work in Progress: These chapters include papers describing a future research work.
For both health professionals and patients, the selected contents will play an important role in ensuring that the necessary skills and familiarity with the tools are available, as well as a fair understanding of the context of interaction in which they operate.
In conclusion, this volume underlines how cybertherapy has started to make progress in treating a variety of disorders. However, there is more work to be done in a number of areas, including the development of easy-to-use and more affordable hardware and software, the development of objective measurement tools, the need to address potential side effects, and the implementation of more controlled studies to evaluate the strength of cybertherapy in comparison to traditional therapies.
We are also grateful to Chelsie Boyd, Tanisha Croad and Laura Masterton from the Interactive Media Institute for their work in collecting and coordinating chapters for this volume.
We sincerely hope that you will find this year's volume to be a fascinating and intellectually stimulating read. We continue to believe that together we can change the face of healthcare.
Brenda K. Wiederhold