Knowledge Base on healthgrids has been developed

Within the framework of the SHARE project funded by the European Commission, a Knowledge Base on HealthGrids has been developed and made available to the worlwide community.

Action on Grids for health is needed at EU level to address mobility of citizens and provide crossfrontier interoperability of data, cross-frontier infrastructures, best exploitation of resources (both technical and medical), equal distribution of healthcare and definition and implementation of standards.

Such deployment requires harmonization of existing legal frameworks for storing,accessing, communicating, and processing health related data between European countries.

In this context, the goals of the project are the following:

  • To propose strategies to address some of the issues listed in the European Action Plan for e-Health. The COM(2004) 356 document identifies actions needed to achieve the European Union?s eEurope strategy in e-health. Several of these actions can directly benefit from the deployment of Grid technology for e-Health and notably
    • 4.2.1 Health authorities leadership
    • 4.2.2 Interoperability of health information systems
    • 4.2.3 Mobility of patients and health professionals
    • 4.2.4 Enhancing infrastructure and technologies
    • 4.2.7 Legal and regulatory issues
    • 4.3.2 Towards integrated health information networks
    • 4.4.1 Disseminating best practices
    • 4.4.3 International collaboration
  • To define a roadmap for research and technology to allow a wide deployment and adoption of healthgrids both in the shorter term (3-5 years) and in the longer term (up to 10 years).

Grid infrastructures are being developed on EU level within FP6: the next step is to exploit the existing systems (GEANT, DEISA, EGEE) for life sciences and healthcare applications.

R&D must focus on improving the services (security, accessibility, quality of service) provided by existing Grid infrastructures in order to address the real needs of end user communities in life sciences and healthcare. This requires the extension of infrastructures to major healthcare providers and major databanks in a secure framework. The benefit of Grids should be demonstrated on healthcare issues requiring large scale distributed infrastructures such as national breast screening programs or bio-banks. Moreover, the challenges of moving from e-Science, using research infrastructures and research quality software to e-Health, using commercial infrastructures and commercial software in a strict legal and ethical framework, are not yet correctly evaluated. This also applies to other socio-economic issues.

To define a complementary and integrated roadmap for e-Health RTD policy relating to Grid deployment, as a basis for improving coordination amongst funding bodies, health policy makers and leaders of Grid initiatives, avoiding legislative barriers etc. The proposed project will:

  • Develop a comprehensive compendium of national and EU initiatives including an analysis of strengths, weaknesses and gaps at EU level;
  • Identify common interests and synergies, cooperation incentives and collaboration among the funding authorities. The identification of common interests and synergies will lead to better exchange and sharing of results, best practices and evaluation methods, as well as a more coherent approach towards standardisation and international collaboration.

In summary the project will define a comprehensive and detailed European R&D roadmap, covering both technology and policy aspects, to guide and promote beneficial EU-wide uptake of HealthGrid technologies and applications into health research, and into health care service provision.

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