An innovative approach

MyHealthAvatar consortium regards the promotion of public (i.e. clinicians and citizens) engagement as the key to the success. We believe that the public involvement can only been promoted if they receive tangible benefits through the use of the avatars. These tangible benefits include allowing data collection with minimal user efforts; providing useful toolkits for clinical supports, etc.
Fortunately, modern ICT technology offers the capacity to achieve these benefits. Indeed, today’s ICT technology such as Internet, visual analytics and mobile phones that facilitate distance communication, information access, analysis and sharing is expected to play a substantial role in future healthcare. Within the context of MyHealthAvatar, the latest ICT is used to promote user participation by providing the means of highly automatic data collection and by offering useful prediction and analysis tools.

To this end, the main contribution of MyHealthAvatar can be summarized as follows:

  • A citizen centred avatar that promotes self-engagement of citizens
  • MyHealthAvatar is designed as a life time companion of citizens rather than as just a patient avatar. The data accessible through the avatar interface is in a more comprehensive context beyond the scope of clinical data – it includes a life time collection of patient life style and other environmental data in addition to the clinical data. Such a completed life record adds extremely useful values to clinical assessments and decision making.
    MyHealthAvatar increases patient empowerment. It is motivated by the growing attention of the self-engagement of patients and the availability of modern ICT in the promotion of clinical information gathering and exchange. In fact, there is a growing attention on the self engagement of patients in the future healthcare. Patients are expected to play more significant roles in the future of healthcare.

  • Innovative ICT to support data collection, search and reasoning
  • Data collection is one of the keys to the success of the avatar. Since this requires active involvement of the patients, the input of the data needs to be as much effortless as possible. To this end, MyHealthAvatar utilises the latest ICT technology for data gathering and information searching. Mobile phone techniques are also used to collect the data from patients.
    In fact, the web is a huge source of information. Making use of this information source supports the enrichment of the data collection. The Internet resource is an effective means of engaging users in terms of attracting their input. MyHealthAvatar employs the latest techniques in web information extraction (IE or WI) for information gathering from social network and other websites in a semi-automated way. In particular, we mainly focus on information extraction from the social media as a novel way for data collection. Exponentially increased amount of valuable information is buried in social networks nowadays owing to their ever growing popularity. Connecting to the social network is also an ideal way to engage users who are willing to provide their information through the networks. Due to the constant user engagement, the information extracted from the social network is often more completed and up to date.

  • Useful toolbox to support clinical analysis
  • MyHealthAvatar also features a toolbox, which benefits the clinicians and patients by allowing the integration of clinical knowledge with visual data analysis tools and computer simulations for the prediction of diseases growth and treatments and for clinical knowledge discovery.

  • ICT infrastructure to support data access, management, sharing and security
  • MyHealthAvatar is supported by modern ICT architecture to allow data management, sharing and data security. A cloud architecture provides the benefit from the latest ICT technology in terms of providing secured data storage and access and powerful computing capability.
    Also, a solution for a local cloud for avatar is being studied, which makes use of computing facilitates within the model/data hosting organizations to support data analysis for the avatars without the need to transfer the data remotely.

  • Close work involving patients
  • The project involves patients and evaluate the tools in a spiral way to optimize the tools according to the needs of patients. MyHealthAvatar has legal and ethical framework that people can trust. They do know what happens with their data.