Digital twin demo shows critical care capacity

Digital twin demo shows critical care capacity

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

A UK developer has used digital twin technology from a project with Rolls Royce to model critical care  that are tackling the Covid-19 outbreak.

Iotics, which has offices in London and Cambridge, has developed the CriticalCare Project to demonstrate how a digital twin of a hospital can provide key real time data. The digital twin can take metadata from ventilator makers and cloud systems to simplify capacity management.

The twin is based around metadata from each hospital in England (rather than the UK), scaling upwards to NHS trusts and down to individual beds. This would give hospital managers the ability to coordinate resources locally and direct patients to available beds and ventilators, while also providing a national view of resources.

“The inability to access, mobilise and utilise data is having crippling effects on the public, first-responders, healthcare services and businesses,” said Robin Brattel, CEO at Iotics. “It is paramount to have access to all relevant data to make informed decisions, so at Iotics we can harness and integrate unstructured data stuck in multiple silos and make it available to the entire COVID-19 response ecosystem. We are currently talking to people at hospital, local and national level as well as other technology partners to see how we can accelerate deployment.”

The technology comes from a digital twin project to model power generation systems at Rolls Royce. 

“Following conversations with people in the trusts there was a recognition that one of the challenges of Covid-19 is managing the long tail of the outbreak to manage resources,” said Ali Nicholl at Iotics. ”We created digital data twins of hospitals in an extensive and secure way that provides the capability for anyone working in the NHS to bring in information of whatever matters. For example, its more about monitoring equipment and knowing where it is, at a local and national level, than the individual data”

“A digital twin we believe provides that ability to provide different views of the same data, not copying data into different silos,” he said. “This will provide an easier way to gather, analyse and review information but it still requires support. We started with bed capacity but it became clear ventilators and medical equipment are key for that capacity. As the outbreak begins to plateau we will want to go back to using the best equipment, how do we manage that?”

“What we have done is created a semantic model using metadata for each hospital and the available data sets for inventory rather than the live availability. But we have added the ability to rapidly edit the data by a designated person, rather than rely on a daily or twice daily headcount.”

“This can be scaled when equipment has the ability to self report, and all of that can be used as events rather than data, eg ‘on’, ‘off’, or ‘in use’. Those discrete events are the ones that will drive insights. What we can do is use ‘integrators’ for anything from an API to a cloud platform, we can create these from any source so we can work with the manufacturers to go direct and use a unique ID so that the virtual ventilator knows more about itself than the real one does, so it knows where it is and how long it has been running for re-calibration and re-certification for example.”

“We approach everything as a complementary technology and we are technology agnostic. We don’t replace the way they do data gathering or storage. We see lots of great digital initiatives in the NHS but they struggle with scale.”

“We most commonly run in AWS as a decentralised operating environment that scales horizontally – how you model this is entirely up to the organisation cares about. The hospital is the basic instance and scales up to trusts and NHS England and down to individual objects,” said Nicholl. “We are the very early conversations about getting it used, but our preference is to integrate into pre-existing digital twins within four hours, from a simple check to a full patient management system integration.”  

The company has been scaling up its engineering management, taking on a former Oculus developer as vice president of Engineering. John Lusty founded the first Oculus virtual reality technology engineering office outside of the US in London

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