From the September 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Bipin Thomas
The health advocate avatar is envisioned as a knowledge interface that can mediate interactions between individuals and the world of medical information.
It is a secure and discreet agent for the individual that also represents a highly ethical learning technology for collective knowledge. A variety of developments and new technologies are required to provide components for the avatar, including natural language search engines, truly effective voice recognition, haptic devices and high resolution displays. The avatar is envisioned to be a coach, educator and health manager that draws on the experience of large populations. The avatar can provide individuals with control and personalized advice while serving health worldwide.
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One can interact with the avatar through numerous interfaces. Individuals can talk to the avatar, use gestures that communicate via motion, perhaps transmit via neural implants or even use an old-fashioned keyboard. More than just a technological wonder, the avatar is an ethical development that can facilitate the health of both individuals and society. The promise of the avatar is supported by the convergence of advanced technologies and health data that can be synthesized into a growing capability to achieve health.
Intelligent technologies to transform health care
Researchers, providers and patients are gaining access to greater computing power, new user interfaces and miniature biomonitors that continuously collect data. Knowledge is being created, challenged and changed at a faster rate than ever before. Key technologies include grid computing to supply the power and the storage capacity, data management tools that mine the vast repositories that can be made available on the dynamic information retrieval systems, natural language processing that helps computers understand human languages at the same time it democratizes scientific knowledge and intelligent agents with increasingly friendly, intuitive interfaces that help both scientists and citizens engage in research.
An avatar leverages these knowledge interfaces in mediating your interactions with the health care system. It uses natural language processing to present complex medical information to you in an easy-to-understand and intuitive way. It allows you to choose the best possible care and helps motivate you to live a healthier life. But it is also a comprehensive, intelligent network, linking you to providers and global information resources. Through sharing knowledge of your health with the health advocate avatar, you also contribute to greater health for others all around the world.