Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Researchers make case for continuation of innovative virtual patient project

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A pilot EU project that could revolutionise medical care was presented to policymakers and researchers at a hearing on Tuesday 20 September in the European Parliament (EP). Based on the principle that medical treatment could be enhanced if it were based on individual needs, the ITFoM ('IT future of medicine') project aims to develop a massive network of computer programmes that could make predictions on disease and therapies and how various side effects would react with individuals bodies. The project could lead to the creation of personalised 'virtual patients'. There is a growing request for systems that could give patients more individualised treatment. What works for one person might not always be best for another, and many treatments actually make patients more ill, putting a further burden on health systems. A model-based approach would allow doctors to simulate treatments on the virtual versions of specific patients before trying them out for real.
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