Data Matrix

The ECHOES cardiovascular digital twin: the brain assist device needed to make sense of data overload?

By Ahmed El-Medany

Presented by Prof Tim Chico, Honorary Consultant Cardiologist and Professor of Cardiovascular medicine, University of Sheffield.

The Digital Innovation in Cardiology session at BCS 2021 was a fascinating and inspiring insight into the technology available in various areas of Cardiology and covered exciting digital prospects for the future.

Prof Chico ended the session by talking about an exciting project looking at streamlining and simplifying the abundance of data presented to us in our day-to-day clinical work.

‘ECHOES is built on the premise that there are two huge problems affecting the quality of cardiovascular healthcare’ the Professor stated – not enough data to understand the individual patient’s experience of disease, and too much data already available to easily handle.

One of the key principles of ECHOES is using real-world data to construct a ‘multi-dimensional phenotype’.

‘For cardiovascular medicine, some of the [concepts] we measure clearly vary wildly between different states, times, and diseases’ the presenter explained. Measuring concepts of daily life, such as sleep, work, leisure etc. and adding them to clinical concepts such as demographics, medical history, and symptoms, to create a comprehensive multi-dimensional overview of patients. Clearly, this is too much information to obtain in a 15-minute consultation, and thus a tool is needed to assist collecting all this data

ECHOES proposes a ‘digital twin’ – a mathematical model updated with real-world data that diagnoses problems and predict health risk. ‘The first thing we need to do is to develop the mathematical and other frameworks within the digital cardiovascular twin… we then need to feed it with data from hundreds of thousands of people… this allows an individual to take their own data to apply that to the generic digital twin, and this will provide a set of digital twin parameters which are unique to that particular person’ Prof Chico stated. Subsequently, these parameters can be used to support clinical diagnosis and management decisions.

Prof Chico concluded by asking for our help as Cardiologists:

  • Firstly, by reviewing, critiquing, and adding to the list of ‘concepts’ required to understand cardiovascular health.
  • Participate in co-design and testing groups for the technology, interfaces, and software ECHOES will develop, and encourage patients to do the same.
  • Recruiting patients to ECHOES studies and participate ourselves! 

Full session available On Demand:
‘Digital Twin’ to enable the vision of precision cardiology | European Heart Journal | Oxford Academic (