In an ideal world, our medical information is accessible regardless of the doctor, clinic, or hospital, regardless of city, any state or even any country.\u00a0 In reality, however, our health IT systems are a long way from ideal.\nJust accessing a patient\u2019s medical images can be difficult under the most forgiving circumstances.\u00a0 Now consider what it\u2019s like when the patient is in a car accident, while on vacation, in a big city, in a foreign country.\u00a0\nSome people wear medical alert bracelets to notify medical personnel about life threatening illnesses that need to be considered in an emergency.\u00a0 In the digital age, these have morphed into USBs loaded with digital information. One company, appropriately dubbed, Medical Avatar, uses personal data to create digital clones or \u201cavatars.\u201d\nThese avatars are sketched in with data about height and weight, as well as digital photographs.\u00a0 They are then filled out with data imported from patients\u2019 electronic health records and other information sources, including personal sensors such as home blood pressure monitors and fitness trackers.\u00a0\nThese avatars are part of a rendering of the future that may affect many walks of life.\u00a0 \u00a0Visionaries are now projecting the use of such digital alter egos in everything from job searches to personal shopping. Machine learning algorithms that build models of who we are and how we live are already being used by Google to figure out what we might want to click on; Amazon.com to pitch what we might want to buy; \u00a0and LinkedIn to suggest who in their database we might know.\nThe profiles underlying these educated guesses \u00a0come from the data we input to our PCs or smartphones. \u00a0Building an avatar from information about your health using a wide range of sources could be far more comprehensive \u2013 and could have an even greater impact.\nSuch a digital clone could be tied into a personalized health plan, providing guidance and tips on how to improve your health.\u00a0 Want a healthier lifestyle, input your daily consumption of vegetables, meats, grains, carbs, fats, fruits \u2013 and alcohol \u2013 to track how well you are doing. Want to get fit?\u00a0 Upload personal fitness data obtained using wearable sensors.\nBut don\u2019t stop there. Record your sleep schedule. Track your medications. Input photos with changes in weight and height. Your avatar might even suggest certain changes in your lifestyle.\u00a0 In a digital twist on the Dickens\u2019 \u201cGhost of \u00a0Christmas Yet To Come\u201d, it might \u201cvisualize possible future versions of yourself,\u201d as the result of such changes, predicting how you might look and feel a year or five years from now.\nHow \u2013 or whether \u2013digital projections can inspire \u2013 or frighten us \u2013 into making actual changes in our lives will depend on the individual.\u00a0 The old joke is that people who need to lose weight will do anything, so long as they didn\u2019t have to exercise or diet.\u00a0\nThat\u2019s always been the problem with preventive medicine.\u00a0 It takes effort. And most of that effort is not fun.\nDigital clones raise the possibility that the data needed to identify problems and track progress toward their solution might be done more easily, while providing the positive motivation to take action.\u00a0 \u00a0Simulations that show the effects of a healthier lifestyle might inspire us to do better.\u00a0 Just as a futuristic projection of what we will look like if we don\u2019t make a change might frighten us.\n\u00a0Just using such a cyber clone as a medical vault for personal data could be helpful . With the widespread adoption of electronic health records, just about everyone who has visited a doctor recently has a digital health profile.\u00a0 Age, weight, height, past surgeries, mammograms, vaccinations, illnesses, imaging exams, prescribed drugs\u2026you name it\u2026are all in there.\u00a0 And while future IT systems might one day be integrated to allow the easy transfer of data, we are right now a long way from such as system.\nYour data are almost certainly scattered if you moved from one city to another; changed doctors; or visited a specialist.\u00a0 If you\u2019re a young adult, you may have pediatric records with one medical practice and records since you turned 18 with another.\u00a0 \u00a0If you are female, some of your records may be with an OB\/GYN. Even if you have stayed with the same doctor, if your doctor left one healthcare system for another, your data probably didn\u2019t go along.\u00a0\nPeople today hire life coaches to mentor them and keep them on track with their goals.\u00a0 Digital avatars could take their place, understanding us like no human possibly could. If that happens, these digital clones could become as big a part of our lives as smartphones.\u00a0 And possibly indispensible to our health and livelihood.