Once the Digital Patient is realised, this tool should not be seen as some sort of convenient virtual diagnostic tool for patient and doctor (or healthcare worker); it has to be seen as much more than that. Putting aside the fact that it will be a sophisticated computer program; the Digital Patient will need to be able to address the greatest medical challenges of the twenty-first century.
These include diabetes mellitus, obesity-related pathologies, dementia, and age-related pathologies, to mention a few, for which the Digital Patient has roles to play in both prevention and management. The age-related pathologies present huge challenges even for areas in which significant improvements have already been made such as cancer. And of course, antibiotic resistance remains an ever constant challenge. The Digital Patient will also need to be able to predict adverse events before they happen; this type of challenge is a particularly difficult task for the Digital Patient.And then there is the legal aspect; for each patient, there will be two versions; the real person and the digital representation –real youanddigital you.To what extent shoulddigital youbecome responsible for what happens toreal youin terms of health and vice versa?This and many other issues were discussed in the First Consultation Meeting and published in the first draft roadmap, which you can obtain from our website www.digital-patient.net.
The first draft of the roadmap highlights another feature that the Digital Patient would need, if it is to fully benefit the patient, and that is an element of ‘experience’ – that is, the Digital Patientlearnsfrom previous simulations to reach the correct prediction a lot sooner with less input information, in other words, artificial intelligence.