Digital health interventions, or ‘digital health’, can help create effective and sustainable healthcare. We use the latest technology, apps and data to make people healthier. TNO wants to boost the impact of digital health still further. In this context, it stresses that everyone has control over their own health.
These days, people gather masses of health data using apps that record their pulse rate, daily activity, diet, etc. It is not only members of the public who are interested in this data, it is also invaluable to scientists. Such data can be used to develop models and software applications that provide medical advice. These tools can assist both patients and healthy individuals, by offering guidance about their health and lifestyle. Individuals must be able to specify which elements of their personal data can be used for which purpose and by whom. Transparency leads to trust, and secure data storage is crucial.
“Health and healthcare can benefit from the secure registration of personal data from birth to death, and from its subsequent use in providing personal support or advice, as well as in predictive models”, says Jildau Bouwman, Digital Health programme manager. We at TNO are tackling these issues via three programme lines: sense (obtaining data, then storing and managing it securely), reason (modelling and interpreting data) and act (interacting with individuals through apps, and developing interventions to change behaviour).
All three lines – as well as the development of tools – are governed by the following four principles : 1) Different individuals have different genetic make-ups, histories and preferences, so what they need to keep them healthy will also differ. For this reason, the process of collecting and analysing data, and of providing digital health advice, must be personal. 2) Transforming raw data into advice requires valid and reliable predictive models for health and diseases. To this end, we integrate large health databases with knowledge of the field in question, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other modelling techniques. 3) Easy access to in-house data and connections to public data are crucial to the development of effective models. 4) And finally, data must be very well protected and secured.
Privacy, big data and digital health are inextricably linked. The RESPECT4U model was just one of the solutions developed by TNO to meet the challenges involved in processing sensitive, personal data.
All work carried out in the framework of this roadmap naturally involved close cooperation with the Biomedical Health, Young People, and Labour roadmaps.
Would you like to know more about our activities in the field of Digital Health or perhaps cooperate with us? Read the details below or get in touch with us.