Feature - HealthGrid 2007 Looks Towards the Future
Five years ago HealthGrid, an international initiative of people from the public and private domain, was formed to improve the use of grid technology in medicine. Last week HealthGrid held their fifth conference at the Hopitaux Universitares in Geneva, Switzerland.
The conference gave biomedical informatics users and developers the opportunity to learn about the current state of the field and to discuss the successes and challenges of using grids in health care.
"The quality of the papers we received this year really impressed me," says Dominique Hausser, co-chair of HealthGrid 2007. "Each year the quality improves-this gives us a clearer vision of the road ahead as grids develop in health care."
The conference took place over three days and included workshops, talks and poster and demonstration sessions. It focused on using grid technology to study biological systems and various organizational levels: molecule, cell, organ, individual and population.
At the molecular level, Hausser feels grid technology is already a great success, and some projects have done well studying at the organ level. At higher levels, he says, some groups are doing exciting work, but there is a lot of potential for improvement.
Hausser said he would also like to see more end users involved in the HealthGrid community. This will help those from the information technology community tailor their software to the needs of health care professionals.
Hausser was pleased to see this year's conference located at a hospital, for the first time, and in Geneva.
"I wanted to have the conference here this year," he says, "to encourage our local leaders and politicians to look to the future. And because this year is the start up of CERN's Large Hadron Collider-which is very exciting."
Conference information, including the program and a list of demonstrations and posters, is available online at the conference Web site.
- Danielle Venton, iSGTW Editor