The Digital Patient: Formal Definition

The management of many human health issues can be greatly improved by the application of accurate predictive models. There have been great advances in modelling of physiological processes in recent years, as the various Virtual Physiological Human initiatives show. One major step in utilising these advances will be to incorporate these models in a systematic way into the clinical decision-making process. There is also a need to make the clinical and research data available, more effective through feedback for building better predictive models.

Project Description

The project began in October 2011, and will run for 18 months. It involves five institutions from four European countries (University College London, University of Sheffield (UK), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (ESP), Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli (IT) and Empirica (DE)).

Journey to the Final Roadmap

The Consultation Process

30th March 2012 – First Consultation Meeting

Attendees: This was invitation only – VPH-aware clinical experts, industrial stakeholders and academics.

Outcome: Video and Draft Roadmap

This meeting brought together selected experts from the clinical (20 representatives), industrial (20) and academic (10) communities to discuss issues surrounding the Digital Patient initiative. The exercise was essentially a “brainstorming” session creating clinical scenarios and case studies, with the aim of highlighting the opportunities and challenges of integrating patient data and predictive models. After the Initial Consultation Meeting, working group leaders shared the experiences and conclusions of all the working groups and planned the Second Consultation Meeting. In between meetings, some of the themes generated in the First Consultation Meeting will be developed much further in time for the Second Consultation Meeting.

26th – 27th November 2012 – Second Consultation Meeting (Barcelona)

Attendees: Experts as before together with a diverse cross-section ranging from modellers and technology developers to end users such as clinicians and healthcare providers, patient representatives, and regulatory experts.

Outcome: Final Roadmap

This open meeting with the aim of calling on worldwide experts within and outside the VPH community will identify and propose recommendations for the Roadmap for the Digital Patient. All experts in the working groups will be invited to discuss the outcomes and decisions taken during the Second Consultation Meeting and propose specific actions to update the draft Roadmap.

The Benefits of the Digital Patient Initiative

This roadmap will provide a vision for research aimed at meeting clinical needs. It will promote the integrative approach to human health, where the human body is modelled as a system of interacting, integrated components and information. The roadmap will ensure that the research agenda will be focused, providing a sustainable approach to the integration of ever-increasing clinical and biological data, and leading to a better chance of successful adoption. The Digital Patient will allow patients and clinicians to become more pro-active in instituting lifestyle modifications and clinical surveillance for the prevention of diseases by providing tools for health prediction and simulation. The Digital Patient initiative aims to individualise the clinical decision making process. It will promote discussion on how to migrate from population-based prediction towards truly personalised medicine, which will emphasise the acquisition, integration, processing, and application of patient-specific information.