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In healthcare, virtual human twins enable more effective diagnoses and personalised interventions, bringing higher efficacy and safety across the spectrum of prevention, treatment and follow-up, while advancing medical education and training. In the domain of clinical research, VHTs can significantly expedite the development of new medicines and medical devices. Development, validation, and integration of VHTs can improve healthcare services, enhance patient outcomes, and bring operational efficiencies in healthcare systems.


However, realising the potential of VHTs requires careful consideration of the scientific, technical, ethical, legal, and cultural dimensions. The benefits of VHTs are to be delivered via a robust ecosystem approach that allows all stakeholders like researchers, innovators, industrial actors, clinicians, healthcare practitioners and patients to build upon well-defined foundational research. This should follow best practices and successful examples of multi-disciplinary collaborations.

To facilitate active collaboration in this ecosystem and support VHTs development and validation, a digital public infrastructure is to be deployed, funded by the European Commission. This will allow users to benefit from advanced computing capabilities and related technologies.

The research and innovation pathway leading to the realisation of benefits and the potential of VHTs is currently being put in place. This will support and facilitate much needed innovations and alleviate growing pressures within our healthcare systems and services, while respecting citizens’ and patients’ fundamental rights.

This pathway draws on a range of initiatives, roadmaps and vision statements from all communities within the ecosystem including those related to modelling, data generation, collection and sharing, artificial intelligence, computing, standards and clinical translation. One such initiative is the VHT Roadmap being prepared by the EDITH coordination and support action (, funded by the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL).

The backdrop of the VHT Roadmap is the upcoming European Health Data Space proposed by the European Commission, one of whose central aims is to make more broadly available health data for secondary use and drive forward research and innovation in health and care.

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