Digital Twin: A Transforming Technology In Healthcare Sector

The concept of a digital twin is one of the more interesting ideas for achieving customized, preventive, and participative care. Digital twins with the help of artificial intelligence can change the dynamics and operational efficiency of various industries. In the healthcare sector, digital twin is a patient’s customized computer model. It enables continuous monitoring, comprehension, and optimization of all human processes, as well as continuous health knowledge, to improve life quality and well-being. In addition, with several artificial intelligence-based models, digital twins can recreate the trajectory of physiological and biochemical processes in human.
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Digital Twin: Applications in various domains

A digital twin is a virtual system that represents or duplicates an object or system using real-time data to enable understanding, learning, and reasoning. It creates a virtual model of a process, system, service, product, or other physical thing using virtual and augmented reality and 3D graphics and data modelling.

Digital Twins are versatile digital tools that can be implemented in multiple domains such as manufacturing, retail, supply chain management and healthcare. Its applications include automotive; telemetry sensors provide feedback from vehicles to a digital twin program; factories, where a digital twin simulates processes to improve efficiency; and healthcare, where sensors can inform a digital twin to analyse and predict a patient’s well-being.

The ability to simulate functions in digital settings will prominently change the way work is performed across these different sectors. Here are a few examples of how it can be applied in different fields:

Supply Chain:

  • Virtualizing and managing the product packaging
  • Optimizing warehouse design
  • Developing a logistic network

Manufacturing:

  • Development of a new product/ design
  • Customization of product design
  • Predictive maintenance

Healthcare:

  • Developing personalized medicines and treatment process
  • Enhancing personalized care

Additionally, digital twins offer remarkable applications for automotive and construction sectors. The aerospace industry has witnessed major growth by utilizing digital twin technology in several ways. With the help of digital twin, researchers/ engineers can use various methods of predictive analysis to forecast any future issues related to airframes, engines, or other components of an aircraft to ensure the safety.

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How Digital Twins Change the Dynamics of the Healthcare Industry

Modern medicine encompasses patient care and health management, disease prevention, and recovery. In addition to physical treatment, psychological counselling is also available. People’s desire for medical services is evolving from offline to online-based, offline-assisted new models as the Internet becomes more prevalent. The entire life may be controlled by creating digital models of life using DT, providing a new means for people to achieve disease treatment, health monitoring, and mobility management.

DT applied in healthcare enables continuous monitoring, comprehension, and optimization of all human functions and constant health knowledge to improve quality of life and well-being. Furthermore, DT can using artificial intelligence (AI) to break down compatibility barriers between diverse data and machine learning (ML) components to predict or make decisions based on heterogeneous digital data. As a result, DT can help with preventative, cost-effective, and directed healthcare.

Customized medication, healthcare organization performance, and the development of novel drugs and technology are being improved using digital twins:

  • The pandemic has aided the emergence of digital health services that use artificial intelligence to assist individuals in identifying and treating simple medical ailments. Siemens Healthineers has been developing a digital twin of the heart to help with pharmacological therapy and cardiac catheterization simulations. Digital twins have a lot of potential to make personalized medical treatments easier for people based on their unique genetic composition, physiology, personality, and other aspects.
  • Digital twins can strengthen the way healthcare companies are giving treatment. Caregivers can use digital twins to capture and locate information communicated among physicians and specialists. A digital twin can represent the patient and then utilize technologies like natural language processing (NLP) to decipher all the data and cut through the clutter to summarise what’s going on. It saves time and increases the accuracy of gathering and displaying information such as specific drugs, health conditions, and other details that clinicians need to make decisions.

The complex ICT ecosystem of digital twins for individualized health care services could put users in danger of hacking. To optimize their services, developers may build a variety of management solutions. On the other hand, differences in management practices can create barriers to data accessibility, limiting users’ ability to make the most effective use of their data as they see appropriate. Certain providers may also engage in data brokerage and benefit from the data provided. Although data broking isn’t necessarily unethical, selling sensitive health-related information without specific agreement violates the right to privacy.

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Recent Digital Twin Research Activities:

By boosting medical care with digital tracking and advancing human body modelling, digital twins in healthcare are transforming clinical operations and hospital management. In the future, it may potentially be used to assist clinicians in improving the effectiveness of physician treatment strategies. Researchers exploring diseases, novel medications, and medical gadgets might benefit significantly from these resources.

  • The recently formed European-led DigiTwin project, which includes clinical, industrial, and academic colleagues from 32 countries, aims to create digital twins for every European citizen for various ailments and could serve as a model for some aspects of an international IDT consortium.
  • By looking at humans from the outside, medical researchers are making significant progress in developing medical digital twins. Gut health is linked to mental well-being, degenerative disorders, and chronic inflammation in humans. The balance of micro-organisms in different digestive tract regions is a vital part of this. Researchers have made remarkable openings.
  • Digital twins are particularly suited to preventing cardiovascular disorders such as stroke. These disorders have complex pathogenesis and are at least partially avoidable with lifestyle changes and early medical intervention. Cardiovascular illnesses are complicated because they include many organs, timeframes, control mechanisms, and a variety of medical and environmental factors.
  • Individual forecasts are difficult to produce without advanced analytical methods like digital twins because of this intricacy.
  • Researchers also has recently developed a new blood pressure model and combined it with an existing multilevel and multi-time scale model for the progression of type 2 diabetes.

Adding It All Up!

Digital twin is a technology that can be applied to a wide range of healthcare services. The variety of digital twins for health care services reveals itself not only in the kinds of healthcare services they seek but also in the ethical problems they may confront. It is conceivable to improve clinical decision-making for individual patients, patient communication, collaborative decision-making, and care quality by developing and growing digital twins’ technology into healthcare facilities.

Author: Dr. Deepti Tayal, is the director of Ingenious e-Brain Solutions, a company that provides search and analytics solutions. She has more than nine years of experience maintaining client relationships with IP law firms, innovator companies, and research organizations by delivering high-quality services at every step of the business.

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