«The artificial patient»

«What is it? As of today, there is no final, widely accepted definition of what an artificial/virtual/synthetic patient is. A very detailed explanation about some (but not all) of the different definitions can be found in this study.» 

«So let me phrase it simply what we mean by it in this analysis:»

«an artificial patient is a set of data representing the desired human characteristics the best possible way that is based on large amounts of real patient data, without actually including any backtracable real-patient data.» 

«Why is it? Artificial patients can be the answer to more than one problems of modern medicine. One of them is patient privacy. With ever more machine learning and deep learning models being used, A.I. needs huge amounts of data to learn from. But providing a lot of real patient data is against their privacy rights, and we have seen ample examples of how bad an idea it is to allow random companies to access heaps of sensitive health data. On the other hand, taking a real-life dataset of existing humans, and generating a synthetic dataset that resembles the original in all important aspects (*more on it later) without actually including anything personal can be a solution.»

«What is it good for? Artificial patients can be used for a number of things, from medical education to clinical trials, this time we are only focusing on the latter. One day, virtual patients might become the go-to tools for

  • estimating efficiency and potential side effects of promising drug molecules or optimising the use of existing ones, 
  • to model the success rate of future medical devices or treatment methods, 
  • or, as the latest, they can substitute the placebo control group for clinical trial.»

Article written by The Medical Futurist



The Medical Futurist