The SHARE project (Supporting and structuring Healthgrid Activities and Research in Europe) aims to define a roadmap for future healthgrid research, highlighting opportunities, obstacles and potential bottlenecks.
SHARE: From White Paper to roadmap
In the HealthGrid White Paper, the HealthGrid community expressed its commitment to engage with and support modern trends in medical practice, especially 'evidence-based medicine' as an integrative principle, to be applied across the dimensions of individual through to public health, diagnosis through treatment to prevention, from molecules through cells, tissues and organs to individuals and populations.
The community also had to address the issues of law, regulation and ethics, and issues about crossing legal and cultural boundaries, finding ways to express these in terms that translate to technology - security, trust, encryption, pseudonymisation. Then it had to consider how the services of the healthgrid middleware would satisfy these requirements; and, if it was to succeed in the real world, how to make the business case for healthgrid to hard-pressed health services across Europe while they are struggling with their own modernisation programmes.
Vision of health
The vision of health that informs the thinking of the White Paper and the work of HealthGrid since its publication has been defined in the 'Action Plan for a European e-Health Area' as follows:
"... the application of information and communications technologies across the whole range of functions that affect the health sector. e-Health tools or 'solutions' include products, systems and services that go beyond simply Internet-based applications.
"They include tools for both health authorities and professionals as well as personalised health systems for patients and citizens. Examples include health information networks, electronic health records, telemedicine services, personal wearable and portable communicable systems, health portals, and many other information and communication technology-based tools assisting prevention, diagnosis, treatment, health monitoring, and lifestyle management."
In the light of the White Paper and its impact, the EC has funded SHARE, a specific support action, to explore exactly what it would mean to realise the vision of the White Paper, investigate the issues that arise and define a roadmap for research and technology which would lead to wide deployment and adoption of healthgrids in the next ten years.
To be more precise, based on the assumption that healthgrid will be the infrastructure of choice for biomedical and eHealth applications within the next ten years, the two objectives of the project are:
- 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), and
- A complementary and integrated roadmap for e-Health research and technology development (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 and other foreseeable obstacles.
The project aims to define a comprehensive and detailed European research and development roadmap, covering both technology and policy aspects, to guide and promote beneficial EU-wide uptake of healthgrid technologies, and their applications into health research and into health care service provision.
Separate technical and ethical, legal and socio-economic (ELSE) roadmaps will be produced by the activities of work packages 3 and 4. UWE is leading work package 6, integrating these roadmaps into a single, coherent roadmap for future healthgrid research in Europe.
All public deliverables are available from the official SHARE website.