Digital health for healthier lifestyles

In this Information Age, data powers growth and change and offers new opportunities for fairer and more efficient societies – if only data can be wisely accessed, shared and used. AMdEX talks with businesses that are helping unlock the potential of the data economy.

When it comes to data regarding our personal health, AMdEX is particularly aware of the importance of safeguarding privacy. And yet, this very personal data could help us live more healthily. The Healthy Living Unit at TNO is developing algorithms that self-learn from secure data without the need to create additional copies of that data – which means we can stay more in control of both our date and our health.

Biomarker monitors

In the TNO Healthy Living Unit, a specialist microbiology and system biology research group is investigating health challenges and disease caused by lifestyle. “We investigate the processes that cause diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes,” explains microbiologist André Boorsma. “We then use this information in models to develop personal advice based on lifestyle and diet that can help bring the disease into remission. To do this we obviously need lots of data. Some of it comes from personal health records provided by the health industry, but we also use data gathered by wearables like glucose monitors, heartbeat monitors, fitness trackers and so on. These wearables give us data on biomarkers, the molecules and genes that can predict disease.”

Leaving data where it is

“Gathering data is inevitably paired with security risks. We’re developing an artificial intelligence model that will mean we don’t need to collate data but can send self-learning algorithms out to the relevant data in personal health records. TNO can develop this infrastructure and the models up to a certain level of technology readiness; our partnership with AMdEX takes us to the next step with AMdEX helping provide the operational aspect, as well as the scaling and securing of the models. And the model AMdEX could also apply to help other organisations retrieve information they need without compromising security.”

Transparency and trust

“Our aim is to ensure what we do with data is fully transparent so that there is more trust in sharing data.” Ultimately, it is the patient that benefits. Data science can not only be used to boost health through personalised nutrition advice but also be used in models that can detect chronic disease earlier, and this means treatment can be more efficient and effective.

29 August 2019

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