The health avatar will harmonise machine learning, data analytics, and cloud technologies to make healthcare more interactive, personalised, and fulfilling
Professor Iain Buchan, public health and clinical informatics researcher at the University of Liverpool, coined the term health avatar. It describes a “digital mirror” of the future, that will cultivate an accurate picture of a user’s health and lifestyle over time using interoperable online services, new data streams and machine learning.
Among the many potential benefits of this digital reflection is the ability to match an individual’s health fingerprint to the care optimal to it; enabling individuals to “shop around” for treatment. A community of digitised selves will also enable individuals to connect with their “avatar kin” and specialist researchers.
Techerati asked Iain to outline health avatar fundamentals and its implications for the future of healthcare, wellbeing and fulfilment.
Why health avatars are the future of healthcare provision
A person’s health avatar is the interactive combination of their health and care records, programs, and preferences.
Sometimes it is a digital mirror, enabling a person to discover different potential health futures depending on lifestyle or self-care choices such as diet and physical activity alongside medication for type 2 diabetes. This digital mirror also allows a person to correct or fill in missing information through interaction, creating a more accurate picture of themselves, which in turn improves the record that guides their health professionals’ decisions.
Sometimes the avatar is a personal assistant, transacting on a person’s behalf, maybe ordering a repeat prescription or booking a visit for a blood test or consultation (which may be hastened or delayed, or moved between online or face-to-face, based on remote monitoring, and care pathway criteria).