Digital Twins in Healthcare: an Assessment of Technological and Practical Prospects

Cover Page

Cite item

Full Text

Open Access Open Access
Restricted Access Access granted
Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access


Background. The technological direction digital Twins is included in the list of the main strategic technological trends of 2019–2021. At the end of 2021, an initiative was announced in the Russian Federation aimed at creating a digital twin in the domestic healthcare system as part of the primary care modernization project. Aims — the purpose of the study is to review possible ways of using digital twins technology in the global healthcare system and in its Russian segment, as well as to build patent and publication landscapes to identify technological and academic leaders of the frontier. Methods. Scientometric and patent analysis. Results. The key stages of the development of the frontier “digital twins in healthcare” are traced. According to the data of the scientometric and patent analyses carried out in the priority direction “digital twins in healthcare and medicine”, the Russian Federation at the end of 2021 ranks 35th in the world in terms of specific weight in the total number of articles in publications indexed in WoS, and 20th in the world in terms of specific weight in the total number of patent applications for an invention, i.e. it is not among the 10 leading countries. The citation of domestic publications in the internationalized segment is significantly lower than the average (normalized) indicator, which does not give grounds to talk about the achievement of research excellence and even world-class domestic competence centers. Conclusion. The creation of the Digital Healthcare Consortium in 2018, the world-class Scientific Center “Digital Biodesign and Personalized Healthcare” in 2020 and the initiative of the regulator (Ministry of Health of Russia) in 2021 should be noted as key events in the development of the frontier in the Russian Federation. At the same time, it is important to note that the main global actors in the transformation of the digital twins frontier into high-tech equipment and services are not research centers, but companies acting simultaneously as qualified customers and beneficiaries of ongoing projects of a full innovation cycle. Having huge R&D budgets and having a clear goal setting, it is these participants in the process that become the main drivers of the technological development of the healthcare sector associated with the introduction of digital twins. In this regard, the absence of the direction of Russian companies on the patent landscape cannot but cause concern, which creates risks of using innovative solutions created in the domestic sector of interdisciplinary research in the interests of foreign corporations identified as technology leaders in this review.

Full Text

Restricted Access

About the authors

Olga S. Kobyakova

Federal Research Institute for Health Organization and Informatics

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0098-1403
SPIN-code: 1373-0903

MD, PhD, Professor

Russian Federation, 11, Dobrolyubova str., Moscow, 127254

Vladimir I. Starodubov

Federal Research Institute for Health Organization and Informatics

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3625-4278
SPIN-code: 7223-9834

MD, PhD, Professor, Academician of the RAS

Russian Federation, 11 Dobrolyubova str., Moscow, 127254

Natalia G. Kurakova

The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1896-6420
SPIN-code: 5741-6679

PhD in Biology

Russian Federation, 11, Dobrolyubova str., Moscow, 127254

Liliya A. Tsvetkova

The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9381-4078
SPIN-code: 8668-9347

PhD in Biology

Russian Federation, 11, Dobrolyubova str., Moscow, 127254


  1. Указ Президента РФ от 9 мая 2017 г. № 203 «О Стратегии развития информационного общества в Российской Федерации на 2017–2030 годы». Available from:
  2. В России создан консорциум «Цифровое здравоохранение». Министерство цифрового развития, связи и массовых коммуникаций Российской Федерации. Available from:
  3. Татьяна Голикова провела заседание Совета по государственной поддержке создания и развития научных центров мирового уровня. Правительство России. 28.08.2020. Available from:
  4. В РФ намерены создать «цифрового двойника» системы здравоохранения., 31.08.2021. Available from:
  5. Цифровые двойники в здравоохранении., 2021. Available from:
  6. Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019: Digital Twins. Gartner Research, 13 March 2019. Available from:
  7. Craft L, Jones M. Hype Cycle for Healthcare Providers, 2020 // Gartner, 05.08.2020. Available from:
  8. Digital Twin Market Growing at 37.87% CAGR to 2023 led by Electronics and Electrical/Machine Manufacturing Industry. 06.09.2017. Available from:
  9. Erol T, Mendi AF, Doğan D. The Digital Twin Revolution in Healthcare. Conference: 2020 4th International Symposium on Multidisciplinary Studies and Innovative Technologies (ISMSIT). IEEE. 2020. URL: doi:
  10. Grieves M. Origins of the Digital Twin Concept. Florida Institute of Technology. 2016. doi:
  11. Grieves M. Digital Twin: Manufacturing Excellence through Virtual Factory Replication. LLC, 2014.
  12. Прохоров А., Лысачев М. Цифровой двойник. Анализ, тренды, мировой опыт / науч. ред. А. Боровков. — М.: АльянсПринт, 2020. — 401 с. [Prohorov A, Lysachev M. Cifrovoj dvojnik. Analiz, trendy, mirovoj opyt / nauch. red. A. Borovkov. Moscow: Al’yansPrint; 2020. 401 p. (In Russ.)]
  13. Braun M. Represent me: please! Towards an ethics of digital twins in medicine. J Med Ethics. 2021;47:394–400. doi:
  14. Bruynseels K, Santoni de Sio F, van den Hoven J. Digital twins in health care: Ethical implications of an emerging engineering paradigm. Front Genet. 2018;9:31. doi:
  15. Cearley D, Burk B. Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019. Gartner, Inc. 15.10.2018. Available from:
  16. Лисогор Д. Виртуальные органы для спасения реальных жизней. Эксперт — о перспективах цифровых двойников. RUSBASE, 17.04.2020. Available from:
  17. Lutz A, Pfeiffer D. Humanizing medtech: The dawn of a digital twin. Siemens-Healthineers, 31.08.2021. Available from:
  18. Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2021. Accenture. 2021. Available from:
  19. Transforming FDA’s Approach to Digital Health: Speech by Scott Gottlieb, M.D. 26.04.2018. FDA, 2018. URL:
  20. Software as a Medical Device (SaMD). FDA. Available from:
  21. Wiggers K. raises $12 million to accelerate clinical trials with “digital twins”. VentureBeat. 20.04.2020. Available from:
  22. Sahli-Costabal F, Seo K, Ashley E, Kuhl E. Classifying drugs by their arrhythmogenic risk using machine learning. Biophys J. 2020;118(5):1165–1176. doi:
  23. Björnsson B, Borrebaeck C, Elander N, et al. Digital twins to personalize medicine. Genome Med. 2019;12(1):4. doi:
  24. Human Genome Project Information Archive 1990–2003. URL:
  25. Чумаков П.М. Выход за пределы возможного: проект «Геном человека». – Человек. — 2012. — № 1. — С. 55–63. [Chumakov PM. Going beyond what is possible: the Human Genome Project. Human. 2012;(1):55–63. (In Russ.)].
  26. Healthcare solution testing for future. Digital Twins in healthcare. Available from:
  27. The 3D printed “digital twin” of your heart that could save your life: AI system lets surgeons simulate surgery. Daily Mail Online, 01.09.2018. Available from:
  28. George Lawton. 21 ways medical digital twins will transform healthcare. VENTUREBEAT, 04.07.2021. Available from:
  29. Solutions for individual patients ( Available from:
  30. Background Information. Erlang, Nov. 2018. Available from: (accessed: 24.09.2020).
  31. Cindy Abole a year later: MUSC, Siemens Healthineers partnership shows progress. MUSC, 23.08.2019. Available from:
  32. Siemens tech accelerates vaccine production. Siemens USA. Available from:
  33. Digital Twin — How to design and execute smart healthcare models. GE Healthcare Command Centers. Available from:
  34. Cardiac 3D chamber quantifications driven by advanced automation. Available from:
  35. The rise of the digital twin: How healthcare can benefit. Philips, 30.08.2018. Available from:
  36. FEops HEARTguide combines digital twins and AI to revolutionize structural heart planning. FEops, 27.05.2021. Available from:
  37. Dassault Systèmes’ Living Heart Project Reaches Next Milestones in Mission to Improve Patient Care. Dassault Systèmes, 18.10.2017. Available from:
  38. Greenlaw E. Utilizing engineering tools from the aerospace industry to repair hearts — Boston Children’s Answers. Boston Childrens Hospital, 21.07.2020. Available from:
  39. Виртуальные органы и испытание лекарств: цифровые двойники в медицине // РБК. 2021. Available from:
  40. Sim & Size. Available from:
  41. Q Bio Announces First Clinical “Digital Twin” Platform and Novel Whole-Body Scanner, and Major Investment from Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. Business Wire. Available from:
  42. Возможности цифровых двойников в медицине обсудили в Академии наук. Научная Россия, 08.06.2021. Available from:
  43. Дмитрий Чернышенко провел первое заседание Правительственной комиссии по научно-технологическому развитию. Правительство России, 23.09.2021. Available from:

Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Fig 1. Dynamics of patent activity in the world in the direction of "Digital twin in medicine and healthcare" (by date of publication).

Download (192KB)
2. Fig 2. Top-30 key players in the global patent landscape in the area of “Digital Twin in Medicine and Healthcare” (by date of publication).

Download (268KB)
3. Fig 3. Distribution of patents in the field of "Digital Twin in Medicine and Healthcare" by priority countries.

Download (175KB)
4. Fig 4. Dynamics of patenting in priority countries in the direction of "Digital twin in medicine and health care".

Download (323KB)
5. Fig 5. Top 50 conceptual clusters of patent documents related to the development of digital twins for healthcare

Download (439KB)
6. Fig 6. Dynamics of the number and citation of publications in the field of "Digital twins in medicine and health care", 2001–2021.

Download (177KB)

Copyright (c) 2021 "Paediatrician" Publishers LLC

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies