Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A roadmap toward a European healthgrid

This is an exciting work towards building an environment of sharing of resources across heterogeneous and dispersed health data:
Also, an application which can be accessed by all users as a tailored information system according to their level of authorization and without loss of information. Collaboration is the heart of this especially across multiple disciplines. In addition, many standards have not yet been realized (e.g., HL7 (Health Level Seven), the US based Standards Development Organization that currently offers asynchronous messaging), this makes a grid approach far more powerful where organizations join the grid and make their information available for querying, processing, analysis, etc.

Few challenges remain, such as:
  • How do we secure and maintain high performance of such distributed structure of data integration and computing?
  • How do we close the gap between grid standards and health-related standards [some nice work's been done here by Power, et al]?
  • How do we go about next-generation open source ontologies for medical informatics?
  • How do we close the gap between hospital policies, public health policies, etc. and the grid approach?
  • How do we go about consumerism and patient ownership of her or his data?
If anything, I hope this raises more awareness of the grid application in health and public health - much still remains to be answered.

Successes are already underway in the health community, for example:
But also there are lots of lessons which we can learn from the innovative thinking of efforts like the Google Cloud (click here to learn more about cloud computing). In addition, InSTEDD’s Mesh4x allows for asynchronous integration of data between many different sources regardless of network connection, systems or services. Network connectivity is not a constant requirement, as Mesh4x can collect and distribute updates between two users over SMS, Internet (HTTP exchange), or through other available means. InSTEDD recently partnered with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and developed a synchronization adapter for Epi Info™, CDC's application for field collection of disease outbreak information (you can read more about this project in 2 of my previous blogs: Empowering Epidemiologists to Share Information, Anytime, Anywhere: Epi Info™ and Mesh4x, and our final demonstration in December 2008: Epi Info™ and Mesh4x Prototype Demonstration with US CDC).

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on this...

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