Digital Twins in Healthcare: How Businesses Are Using New Ideas to Improve



The Digital Twins technology in healthcare is a virtual representation of patients. Digital twin means ‘Virtual representation’ and Physical twin means ‘Patients’. The market of digital twins in healthcare is estimated to reach $21.1 billion by 2028. The idea of Digital Twins gained popularity in 2002. It is a great revolution in the healthcare industry as doctors can use Digital twins instead of human and physical objects to analyze patterns and improve decisions in medical science.

IoT devices have been instrumental in taking the healthcare industry to the next level. They help to handle digital twins effectively. Our IOT development company has worked on various projects for the healthcare industry, so it knows what is taking the medical world by storm. This blog includes crucial information about Digital twins, their advantages, use cases, applications, and others.

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What is a digital twin?

Digital means “virtual” and twin means “identical”. So, a digital twin is a digital model of a physical object. Any physical objects and humans can be converted into a virtual model. It is a virtual representation of real-world objects and systems that analysts use to identify problems and come up with the best solutions.

Businesses can use digital twins for designing, operating, building, and monitoring product lifecycles. They can find new ideas to improve business processes with the help of digital twins.

image source Ai

Image source

Key aspects of digital twins:

  1. Physical Product
  2. Virtual Product
  3. Connection between physical and virtual products

Advantages of Digital Twins in Healthcare

Digital twins in healthcare provide various benefits. Biotech, pharma, and various medical companies are thriving leveraging the power of digital twins.

1) Improve patient care:

Digital twins can help doctors make better decisions. It leads to better and more timely patient care. Around 68% of businesses in the medical field admit that this technology has helped them to make informative decisions. They provide real-time insights into a patient’s condition.

These virtual replicas allow doctors to make more accurate diagnoses, tailor treatment plans, and monitor patients remotely, leading to better health outcomes.

2) Cut costs:

It also saves money which is cool. By using digital twins, healthcare costs can go down by 26%. So it’s good for patients’ and hospitals’ wallets too. There is no need to keep paper-based records as digital information can save trillions of data. It also decreases money spent on keeping physical reports.

3) Enhanced diagnostics:

They help doctors make more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans by providing a detailed, real-time view of the patient’s condition. It can lead to better health outcomes. They aid enhanced diagnostics by creating virtual replicas of patients. Doctors can analyze the virtual twin’s data.

4) Optimized treatment:

Digital twins allow for personalized treatment plans, tailored to individual patients. It improves the effectiveness of medical interventions and eliminates the risk of bad effects. Doctors can detect the early signs of lethal disease using this technology, not exactly working on the human body but on the replica. Knowing early signs helps to optimize treatment plans. Similarly, IoT in healthcare also helps doctors to optimize treatments for particular diseases.

5) Efficient healthcare systems:

By simulating healthcare processes, digital twins can help hospitals and healthcare providers optimize their operations, and reduce cost and overall efficiency. It leads to focus more on taking care of patients and less on paperwork. It is like having personal assistance that takes care of non-medical assistance.

6) Remote monitoring:

Digital twins enable remote monitoring in healthcare by creating virtual models of patients. These virtual replicas continuously collect and analyze real-time health data. Doctors and healthcare providers can remotely track patient’s condition, making it easier to manage chronic diseases and ensuring early intervention when issues arise. It’s like having a virtual health companion that looks after patients from far away.

7) Drug development:

The virtual representation of drugs and systems used to optimize the actual work of drugs on the human body. Pharmaceutical companies can effectively work on drug development using digital twins. They save time and resources that pharmaceutical companies can use for other important tasks.

Have a look at the examples in the space below

  • Pfizer: Pfizer partnered with BioLingus to get benefits from digital twin technology.
  • Novartis: LaticeAI is Novartis partner to use digital twins.
  • AstraZeneca: It partnered with Insilico Medicine to leverage the power of digital twin technology.

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 8) Reduced medical errors:

Digital twins reduce medical errors by enhancing decision-making in healthcare. These virtual models continuously monitor and update real-time patient data, allowing healthcare providers to access accurate and up-to-date information. It reduces the errors in incomplete or outdated patient records.

Moreover, digital twins offer decision support, helping healthcare professionals choose the best treatment options and avoid potential mistakes. If you are planning to build AI software or an AI model for your business, use big datasets for the same and research thoroughly. 

9) Medical training:

Digital patient twins benefit medical training by creating realistic, interactive simulations of medical scenarios and human physiology. Medical students and professionals can use these simulations for hands-on practice and learning without putting real patients at risk. It allows them to refine their skills, gain experience, and explore complex medical procedures in a safe and controlled environment.

10) Patient empowerment:

Patients can gain a better understanding of their health and be more engaged in caring for themselves. Insights provided by digital twins help patients to make the right and quick decisions about their health. Apart from Digital Twins, there are many build AI software for improving patients’ health and empowering them. They don’t have to rush to doctors every time for small health issues.

11) Research advancement:

Information gathered with the help of digital patient twin is used for simulating medical and scientific experiments. Researchers can create virtual replicas of biological systems, diseases, or medical treatments and test hypotheses in a risk-free controlled environment. It enhances the pace of discoveries in the biomedical field.

Digital twins are useful for making informative decisions, patient care, scientific research, and many other things. Have a look at the image below to understand the digital twin market in the countries North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world.

image source 2 Ai

Image source

 

Applications of digital twins

Digital twins in the healthcare and medical field have several benefits. Let’s know some of the important ones in the space below.

1) Personalized medicine:

Digital twins technology helps to create tailored treatment plans by modeling individual patients, considering their genetics, lifestyle, and medical history, resulting in more effective and precise healthcare. If you are looking for a solution for emotional and mental health Lyra Health Clone app can be a great option.

2) Surgery simulation:

Surgeons utilize digital twins to simulate complex procedures, mitigating errors and ensuring successful outcomes. Surgeons use these replicas to practice and plan difficult and large projects and surgical processes. This realistic rehearsal enables surgeons to refine their skills and develop optimal surgical strategies.

Digital twins also reduce the risk of errors during actual surgeries. It’s like having a detailed and dynamic blueprint of the patient’s body. Surgeons can fine-tune their approach for the best possible outcomes.

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3) Chronic disease management:

Digital twins are invaluable in the management of chronic diseases. They help in creating virtual representations of patients with chronic conditions. They can continuously monitor the health status of patients using this technology. By analyzing data from these digital twins, healthcare providers can track disease progression, identify warning signs, and adjust treatment plans in real-time.

Remote monitoring helps in knowing the problem on time. Doctors or health professionals don’t have to see the patient physically, they can check them online and provide quick solutions. It improves the quality of care while reducing in-person visits.

4) Drug discovery:

Digital twins are transforming the drug discovery processes. They create virtual models that simulate how the human body responds to different drugs and treatments. Pharmaceutical researchers and professionals can test and optimize potential medication without the extensive use of animal testing.

Digital twins accelerate the drug development timeline, reduce cost, and enhance safety. Isn’t it a blessing to do drug discovery research without harming animals and humans as well? Many pharmaceutical companies are thriving with the use of digital twins and getting better ideas.

5) Prosthetics and implants:

By creating virtual replicas of a patient’s anatomy, including the missing or affected body parts, prosthetists and implant designers can customize these devices impeccably. It ensures a perfect fit and accurate functionality for the individual. Digital twins enhance the design and manufacturing process.

As a result prosthetics and implants that closely mimic natural limbs and organs greatly improve the quality of life for the patients. Since paperwork and research from scratch are not required, the price for the limbs and organs is also low for the patients.

6) Patient remote monitoring:

Building apps for patient remote monitoring requires expertise and a clear understanding of needs. Digital twins create virtual patient representations that continuously update real-time health data. Healthcare providers can remotely access this data and track changes in the health condition of patients. It minimizes the requirement for frequent face-to-face meetings Patients also use apps to record their health condition. Doctors can know about the patient’s health from these apps. Seeking offshore software development  for healthcare apps can be a beneficial decision to get quality services on time.

7) Hospital operations:

Digital twins are used to create a dynamic blueprint of the hospital and its operations. Digital models present the hospital layout, patient flows, and resource allocation. This technology enables healthcare administrators to optimize various aspects such as room assignments, staff schedules, and equipment maintenance. It enhances the overall efficiency of hospital operations, leading to better patient care, reduced costs, and improved resource management.

8) Epidemic management:

Healthcare professionals can get information about disease spread and healthcare resources using the dynamic models created with the help of digital twins technology. These models present various scenarios such as disease transmission, intervention strategies, and resource allocation.

By analyzing the data generated by digital twins, public health agencies and healthcare providers can make informed decisions, plan interventions, and predict healthcare resource needs during epidemics. So, this technology enhances epidemic control. Data-driven approach helps to manage health crises effectively.

Explore more about the applications of digital twins in the video below.

Examples of Digital Twins in real-world

We have curated two important real-life examples of using Digital Twins. Check out the below and understand how using this technology in real life is possible.

1) Digital Twin used by Babylon:

Babylon uses 3D models of objects and scenes. They used digital twins for tracking, monitoring, and optimizing the performance of physical systems like factories, cities, and hospital buildings. They can analyze new designs before they are built.

Moreover, they can predict the future using the patterns and history of medical records. These days most countries have electronic health records. It provides the complete medical history of each patient. Babylon replaced the old paper-based system with EHRs. They have information about the patient and what happened in the span of the last two decades with their health.

Digital twin medical records are feasible to produce and handle. For example, if a patient has broken his leg, a digital twin will display the bone and type of break. The information displayed will include guidance on how to promote bone growth and assist in the healing process.

Digital Twin used by Babylon

Image source

 

2) Digital twins used by mater Hospital Dublin:

Mater Hospital Dublin uses digital twins for its ward management. Surveillance and management become easy with the help of replicas. The links between the corridors and spaces are clear on the digital twins. It helps to plan for improving the ward. The hospital uses 3D digital replicas to evaluate the everyday ward operations. It aims to enhance the radiology department.

With the help of this technology, the hospital could reduce the waiting time for CT and MRI scans. The integration of digital twins led to benefits like it reduced the waiting time to 240 minutes. It helped to reduce the patient turnaround time. Digital twins technology has made various tasks easy for hospitals.

Digital twins used by mater Hospital Dublin-

Image source

5 Key Challenges to Adopt Digital Twins Technology

It’s important to understand the challenges that may arise when deploying digital twins.

1)  Data Security:

It refers to safeguarding sensitive and private information stored and processed within these data models. In healthcare digital twins may contain highly confidential, patient data, medical records, and treatment plans. Ensuring data security involves implementing robust encryption, access controls, and authentication mechanisms. It is important to curb unapproved access or breaches.

Compliance with healthcare regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the United States, is crucial. If digital twins fail to protect data, it can be a matter of privacy violation. Therefore data security is a top priority in the adoption of digital twins.

2) Integration complexities:

The diverse and complex nature of healthcare infrastructure creates challenges while integrating digital twins. It needs to seamlessly connect with electronic health records, medical devices, and data sources.To ensure that different systems can work together and share data seamlessly, it is essential to plan carefully and have the necessary technical knowledge and skills.

Differences in data formats protocols, and standards across various healthcare platforms. Overcoming these challenges demands a comprehensive strategy. So, you need to consider the pros and cons of implementing digital twins for a particular process.

3) Cost of implementation:

Implementation of digital twins in healthcare needs a significant investment. Creating and maintaining accurate, high-fidelity virtual replicas of patients and medical processes needs equipment, skilled professionals, and specialized software. The initial cost includes acquiring and developing the necessary hardware and software development infrastructure as well as expenses associated with data collection, modeling, and validation.

4) Staff training:

Setting up and keeping digital twins running requires a lot of money. From getting the right technology to maintaining these virtual replicas, it’s a big financial commitment. The initial cost can be a challenge for organizations because it involves spending a significant amount of money upfront. It’s like making a sizable investment in technology and expertise to use digital twins. Managing this cost can be a financial hurdle.

5) Data accuracy and validation:

Making sure the information used in the digital twin models is correct or not is very important. Imagine if the data about patients, treatments, and health conditions is not accurate, it can lead to wrong decisions. So, accuracy checks and validations are like quality control to ensure the virtual replicas. They should accurately represent real-world scenarios as it makes them reliable tools for patient care and treatment planning.

Wrapping up

Digital twins are reshaping healthcare, offering innovative solutions for personalized treatment, efficient operations, and advanced research. Their applications hold an era of new trends. Informative decisions taken with the help of digital twins provide quick and effective treatments to people. The journey into the future of healthcare is not easy but exciting and beneficial.

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Saikat Ghosh working as a Business & HR head at mobile app development company, Technource. He is an Electrical engineer by education and studied management from IIM, Calcutta. He has worked last 23 years in client-facing roles like Marketing, Sales, and Support. He loves to work with on-demand app development, Marketing & Sales strategies, brainstorm new ideas, and learn from people. When he is off from his regular job, he works for his theatre group.

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