Saturday, 21 May 2011

Can we use grids in healthcare?

Can we use grids in healthcare?

From electronic health records to heart monitors, patients, doctors and researchers are all benefitting from using ICTs in healthcare. But what part do grids play in this new field of eHealth?

Today grids help in many areas of healthcare:

- Researchers can use grid computing’s processing power to hunt for new viruses, search for new drugs, model disease outbreaks, image the body’s organs and determine treatments for patients
- Doctors can gain access to relevant health data regardless of where it is stored
- Patients can receive a more individualised form of healthcare
- Healthcare workers are better able to collaborate and share large amounts of information

Grids for health

Grid computing is perfect for research that requires large numbers of parallel computations, and so is a lifeline for biomedical projects with growing processing needs. Work that could take months without a grid can take only hours. In the lab, the grid has helped researchers to discover new viruses and to study the heart’s response to defibrillation.

Grids can also assist with image processing. Producing images is a computer intensive but essential task that helps clinicians visualise organs in the body for disease, damage or irregularities.

For pharmaceutical companies, grid technologies can move drug discovery from the lab to the computer, saving money when developing potential new drugs.

Grid technology can break down barriers between healthcare systems in different countries by providing a way to store, exchange and access medical data in a secure manner. This could potentially lead to patients having access to both their medical data and treatment no matter where they are on the globe.

Together, eHealth and grids are shaping the future of healthcare.

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