Feature - Health-e-Child Prepares for Deployment
Between now and the end of the May, members of the Health-e-Child collaboration will crouch over their newly arrived servers, installing and testing software, as part of a project they hope will revolutionize pediatrics in Europe. When the servers are installed and turned on at hospitals in London, Paris and Genoa they will be crucial nodes of the Health-e-Child infrastructure.
"The knowledge produced in hospitals is important to share," says Konstantin Skaburskas, lead technical specialist for Health-e-Child. "We are creating a repository which will allow pediatricians to share their knowledge online."
Health-e-Child, like its predecessor Mammogrid, is a distributed computing project that connects hospitals and participating institutions-allowing them to share integrated, multi-level information. Genetic, cellular, tissue- and organ-level information can be incorporated in to disease models to give a physician a greater perspective for diagnosis and treatment. With the system, medical staff can access records generated in other hospitals to compare rare cases with complex symptoms or ambiguous diagnoses.
The Health-e-Child platform accepts information in multiple formats: text; images; and statistical lab data. Information from many sources, including advancements in research, can be integrated in to the system. Health-e-Child, which uses Enabling Grids for E-siencE middleware and Siemens-developed software, needs grid technology to share online information.
"We need storage resources," says Skaburskas, "not a number-crunching infrastructure."
Members from the teams preparing the servers for deployment will help the hospitals incorporate the servers in to their system. They plan to get a new hospital online each month between May and July.
Fourteen institutions, including three hospitals, participate in the project. Maat G Knowledge in Toledo, Spain, and CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, support and maintain the software development infrastructure of the Health-e-Child grid. The project is growing and new project partners will join in the near future.
"It's a great feeling to be at this point," said David Manset, director of biomedical applications for Maat G Knowledge. "After a year and a half of work, we need clinicians to see some of the benefits of grid-based work."
To learn more visit the Health-e-Child Web site.
- Danielle Venton, iSGTW Editor