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Beyond Boundaries: How Digital Twins are Reshaping Healthcare

How Digital Twins Are Reforming Healthcare?
Artificial Intelligence / Technology

Beyond Boundaries: How Digital Twins are Reshaping Healthcare

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could forecast the effects of a specific treatment or some new medications without really putting patients’ lives in danger? Or making a digital replica of a person’s entire body, down to the molecular level, from head to toe, or deciding on the optimal surgical approach before having the procedure done? What if a patient with congestive heart failure could be evaluated for the effects of a pacemaker or stent before undergoing actual surgery?

Well, owing to digital twins healthcare, the medical field can now create more accurate and personalized treatment procedures for patients, especially those with chronic conditions. 

Let’s explore what digital twins are and what are its benefits in the healthcare field.

What are digital twins?

A digital twin can be defined as an environment of linked data and models that reproduce an accurate, virtual representation of real-world entities and processes.

The digital twin concept can be considered as a virtual doppelganger of real-life objects, systems, or processes. It helps to predict different scenarios from various conditions, identify potential problems, and make necessary changes even before they happen with the help of various digital twins software.  

Talking about how digital twins work, the first step towards creating a digital twin involves mapping the physical object or space through imagery and LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging), down to very small detail. After digital mapping, real-world data are added to the digital twins. These two are synchronized at regular intervals to ensure that the digital twin always remains up to date. Once the team collects and processes the data, it is then combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, thereby allowing them to create possible scenarios and outcomes on the twins’ real-world counterparts. 

After Challenge Advisory hosted a presentation for Michael Grieves at the University of Michigan in 2002, the idea of a digital twin became well-known. The creation of a product lifecycle management center was the topic of the presentation. It included all of the digital twin’s components, including actual and virtual spaces as well as the diffusion of data and information flow between them. The idea of combining a digital and physical twin into a single entity hasn’t changed over time, even though language may have. Despite being widely believed to have been created in 2002, the digital twin concept has been a notion used since the 1960s. NASA would apply fundamental twinning concepts for their space missions during this time.

What can digital twins do and why digital twins are important? 

The digital twin concept is now a crucial component of advancing performance and overall innovation because of the development of technology. In brief, by using real-world data to generate simulations that can foretell how a product or process will operate before its actual inception, digital twins contribute to the improvement of overall strategic technology trends and avert costly failures.

Every industry is under pressure to provide improved, cutting-edge operating models or decision-making processes from organizations in today’s competitive world. Businesses can now apply digital twin software in systems and processes connected to people, business, and production. Future digital twin models could be compatible and exist globally. According to recent studies, the global digital twin market is expected to expand at an annual compound rate of 39.1% between 2022 and 2030.

What can digital twins used for?

As mentioned above, digital twin software manufactured by digital twin software companies can simulate any machine or system’s operation before it is built, from offshore oil rigs to moving trains. Engineers, for example, can test a machine and fix it before actually implementing it.

Now if you ask where are digital twins used, digital twins can be used in a variety of different businesses, such as:

Automotive: To shorten the time to market, engineers can generate a digital duplicate of an automobile before they manufacture or design the actual thing.

Manufacturing: Digital twins are actively employed to optimize production during the manufacturing process.

Healthcare: A person’s medical digital twins can get real-time information that can be used to predict their well-being thanks to sensors and smart devices.

The manufacturing and automobile industry has been using various digital twin solutions for a while now. However, the healthcare sector has only started to reap benefits recently.  Though still in a developing phase, digital twins healthcare has shown some remarkable breakthroughs using various digital twins medical devices.

Evolution of Digital Twins Healthcare

Now you may ask, what is digital twin in healthcare? In the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for the widespread adoption of medical digital twins. Due to digital twins healthcare, there have been significant medical advancements. According to recent reports, 66% of healthcare executives plan to invest in digital twins medical devices or medical digital twins in the next 3 years.

Benefits of Digital Twins for the Healthcare Sector
Source: Healthcare digital twins market in the US/ Grand View Research

Various Applications of Digital Twin in Healthcare

Even though the idea of a fully formed digital twins healthcare has not yet been realized efficiently, with technological advancement, it is making progress in that direction. In the field of the healthcare system, digital twins are used to create digital representations of various healthcare data including hospital surroundings, human physiology, lab findings, etc. Medical digital twins are created with the help of data on individual population’s attributes and the environment.  

Digital twins have impressively achieved significant progress in a variety of healthcare-related fields, such as

  • Detection and treatment support 

Virtual replicas of patients or specific medical conditions are created with the help of medical digital twin software that allows healthcare professionals to stimulate various scenarios and assess the effectiveness of different treatment options. Digital twin software has paved the way for more precise and personalized medical assistance based on each patient’s data and medical history. With the help of digital twins healthcare technology, medical professionals can significantly improve diagnostic accuracy, optimize treatment plans, and ultimately provide better results to patients.  

  • Design and optimization of medical devices 

The digital twin concept has significant importance in the field of medical devices and equipment. Product safety and effectiveness can be assured by the manufacturers with the help of Digital Twin. Digital twins healthcare can be used in designing, testing and overall optimizing. Virtual replication helps various healthcare organizations stimulate real-world scenarios, identify potential risks, and make necessary changes before actual production. This in turn will reduce the overall cost, shorten the development cycle, and enhance the overall medical device performance.

  • Hospital facility and management 

The overall operational efficiency of healthcare facilities has improved significantly due to digital twins’ healthcare technology. As a result, the service quality has also improved drastically. For example, due to medical digital twins, hospitals can optimize overall resources for a hassle-free experience for patients. Additionally, energy planning and usage, resource logistics, administrative processes, and various other facility maintenance in a hospital can be improved with the help of digital twin technology, resulting in a more sustainable future.

  • Telemedicine and remote monitoring

The digital twins healthcare industry has revolutionized the overall concept of health monitoring. Now doctors and patients can get all essential real-time health data at their fingertips with the help of smartwatches and fitness trackers manufactured by various digital twins healthcare companies. This data includes important vital signs, sleep patterns, and various activity levels that are transmitted to a digital twin thereby making an exact copy of the patient. On-the-spot analysis of the data provided by the digital twins gives valuable insights for healthcare professionals. Continuous monitoring also allows personal intervention, proactive detection of any abnormalities, and remote patient monitoring.  This in turn helps enable healthcare professionals to deliver optimized care and better treatment outcomes.  

  • In-depth medical research

Digital twins’ healthcare technology is helpful in medical research as it helps to stimulate various scenarios safely and cost-effectively before applying them in real-life conditions. This helps medical researchers detect illness patterns, model the effects of therapies, and identify the most promising area for future studies in living organisms. By identifying and comparing the large cohort of medical twins with the help of digital twin technology, researchers can examine various treatment options for individuals with similar characteristics and disorders.

Benefits of Digital Twins for the Healthcare Sector
Source: Digital twin-based image of a patient/ Beijing Zhongke Journal Publishing Co. Ltd

Various benefits of digital twins in healthcare

Let’s dive into various advantages of medical digital twins that have transformed the overall healthcare landscape.

  • Improved healthcare access  

More people have access to critical digital information as IoT and digitalization continue to expand. In the same way, digital twinning in healthcare can improve access to resources for self-healthcare management, healthcare education, and a variety of remote healthcare services, regardless of limitations imposed by a patient’s physical location. A bigger population can participate in real-time health monitoring because of the wide availability of various digital twins’ medical devices or digital twins in medicine. The load on already overstretched healthcare resources is reduced by this accessibility, which makes it easier to recognize early warning signals and make timely diagnoses.

  • Risk Prediction and Overall Optimization 

With the help of simulations in a virtual environment, digital twin software manufactured by various digital twin software companies has the potential to reduce overall risk. This in turn also improves savings by optimizing bed scheduling and various treatment solutions. Digital twins can also enhance different treatment plans by incorporating treatment methods and drug information into the model for verification. This, in turn, leads to early disease diagnosis and prevention. 

  • Precise treatment with monitoring 

A digital twin technology company with the help of various digital twins healthcare technology can analyze unusual illnesses and provide precise treatments because of the real-time health data that wearables and mobile phones supply. Digital Twins can optimize treatment options, resulting in higher patient survival rates and better overall quality of life. These methodologies and bioinformatics principles are computer algorithm-based.

With the help of digital technologies, the various limitations of traditional methods are removed. This in turn helps to empower hospitals with various advanced tools for informed decision-making. With the proper integration of medical digital twins by the digital twins’ healthcare industry, patients are granted greater autonomy. This in turn helps to enhance the overall healthcare standards by enabling precise and personalized treatment procedures.  

  • Faster innovation 

In the field of digital twins healthcare, the research and use of effective treatments are sped up by the fabrication of digital reproductions of patients’ essential organs or individual cells. The ability to simulate various therapies and assess probable outcomes depending on patient variables is provided by this personalized method. 

Healthcare practitioners can now use modeling, simulation, outcome prediction, and validation to improve patient care and treatment effectiveness thanks to the digitalization of genetic, organ, organ system-level, and surgical data.

Benefits of Digital Twins for the Healthcare Sector

Various Challenges for Digital Twin Healthcare 

Some of the challenges that medical digital twins face include:

  • Limited data

The routine clinical practice has not yet widely embraced digital twins’ healthcare technologies. The use of technology in healthcare facilities (such as hospitals and laboratories) needs to be increased to improve clinical procedures, digital simulations, and patient care in general.

  •  Privacy and security 

The protection of patient data’s privacy and security is one of the main difficulties posed by the digital twins healthcare industry.  Protecting this information from unauthorized access and cyber threats is essential since digital twins significantly rely on gathering and analyzing the private medical data of the patient. The development of strong data security plans is a requirement for the healthcare industry, as is making sure that all stakeholders are aware of and abide by data privacy laws.

  • Implementation cost is high 

The price of deploying digital twin technology in healthcare is high. Healthcare organizations must carefully weigh the costs of creating, adopting, and maintaining medical digital twins technology and decide whether the advantages outweigh the expenses.

Future of Digital Twins Healthcare

With the development of technology, all top healthcare organizations must think of using digital twin technology to gain many advantages. Medical digital twins are a tool that healthcare professionals can use to visually test and assess new treatment choices on an individual basis. Hospitals and other organizations’ macro models can direct processes and resource allocation at the organizational level to produce the best results at the lowest possible cost. 
By 2025, 25% of healthcare delivery organizations will incorporate formalized digital twin initiatives inside their digital transformation strategies, as stated in the Gartner Inc. report on Forbes.

Wrapping up 

In today’s digital age, many leading industries are looking forward to digitizing their overall business venture using digital twins’ healthcare technology. However, they will need a trustworthy technology partner to help in their digital twin journey.

We have the right set of expertise to help you transform your healthcare domain. Our necessary healthcare software solutions can help you overcome the challenges related to digital twins. 

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