Preservation of health does not only take place in hospitals, doctors' practices and rehabilitation facilities. Due to the digitalization of many processes citizens and patients inreasingly take over the responsibility for their own health care. In order to meet the demands of such self centered care it is important to early engage with all stakeholders of health care to foster an intensive dialogue and a collaborative research together with the patients and citizens. Building patient trust in future health technologies requires transparency, feedback, and human support for helping them to manage their daily medical needs. By trusting a digital platform, patients and citizens have an enormous toolbox to stay engaged in their personal care – the ultimate measure in trust. KARE will support this by building an environment based on responsibility and trust. Trust is highly fragile, when it comes to health care. It can only be manifested by closely interconnected, co-creative and cooperative research with patients, citizens and relevant stakeholders from practice and industry. All participants from research, industry and health care are well interlinked and communicate with the help of a secure and reliable data network. Data, e.g. of patients, can be accessed regardless of location, time and sector boundaries. Transformation processes will be initiated, accompanied and supported by socio-technical innovations (‘reallabs’). Additionally, in KARE research is accompanied by the analysis of ethical, social and legal aspects (e.g. consent models, anticipative governance, approval procedures).
With this integrative and comprehensive approach, KARE enables the transition of digital applications into standard care and creates a unique link between research and the health system. Patients or healthy persons which enroll in the program will be supported by their physicians, elderly care units, child care, gyms, sport clubs etc. to provide data on their health state. This will be eventually used to design digital twins of a larger variety of individuals providing a unique dataset which allows for the simulation of health issues. Data will be anonymized and provided to the researchers from KITHealthTech to develop novel personalized technologies for future healthcare. This will not only lead to better resolutions when defining the health status of an individual patient but also change the expected image of a healthy patient (Personalized Care 2.0).
Enabling Personalized Care 2.0: Patient’s Digital Twin
A patient’s digital twin is designed to mimic the biological function of the individual and capture continuous data within the KARE program about various vitals, medical conditions, response to drugs, interventions, and the surrounding ecosystem over a long period of time. KIT will build a strategic alliance for digital health technologies and digital data with real labs in different contexts (hospitals, doctor's offices, outpatient care, everyday life) to foster the transition of digital applications into benefit in standard care. Patients contribute to the program by providing historic and real-time data. All players are well interconnected and communicate via a secure and reliable data network at KIT and holistic approaches. Data collections such as from lifestyle, sports, music education, daily food habits, and blood sugar data of chronic diabetes patients will be used to construct and update the individual digital twin.
AI and Digital Health
Empowered by AI-methods, the digital twin should be trained to alert the patient for medications, food habit changes, doctor consultation and should build algorithms to predict future health conditions. Moreover, the digital twin can aid with clinical decision making. The final goal is the complete simulation of the patient possibly including genetic and epigenetic profiling.
Cybersecurity, Data Protection, and Trust
Digital twins leverage a large amount of rich data from various devices, which also require methods for cyber security and patient compatible software development. KIT’s rich expertise also in the field of technology transfer and societal impact will be key to make digital twin based innovations reality.