IDEA Award Winner 2007
The Globus MEDICUS project
- Stephan Erberich, Director Functional Imaging and Biomedical Informatics, University of Southern California
- Carl Kesselman, Director Center for Grid Technology, Information Sciences Institute
- Ann Chervenak Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Information Sciences Institute
- Robert Schuler, Research Scientist, Information Sciences Institute
The Globus MEDICUS project, created through collaboration between University of Southern California and the Information Sciences Institute, seeks to enable and promote the seamless exchange of important bandwidth-intensive medical information and images that will help to revolutionize healthcare around the world. Leveraging Open Grid Service Architecture (OGSA) data and computing Grids, the project seeks to combine large-scale 3D/4D medical image communication over Internet2’s high bandwidth networks and to leverage Shibboleth identity management technology to facilitate strong patient data privacy-preserving. The outcome of the project has been the seamless Grid integration of the Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine (DICOM) standard protocol that is today used in healthcare and medical research enterprises.
The recent evolution of advanced networking technologies like Internet2’s network has catalyzed the possibilities of data sharing and exchange in medicine, enabling doctors, researchers, and the healthcare profession at large to engage in interdisciplinary and multi-center networked operations. At the same time significant increase in the scale of medical images, e.g. dynamic 4D imaging and increased number of detector arrays, has resulted in a data deluge. Given these facts, DICOM legacy imaging devices are not suited to face the new global order of highly networked and large scale data demands.
By leveraging Grid technology, the developers of the Globus Alliance MEDICUS project, can fill this technology gap by providing reliable industry standards for the most challenging problems associated within network collaborative environments: (i) enterprise level security (data, authentication, authorization), (ii) high-speed reliable data transport utilizing high-bandwidth networks, (iii) large scale data management.
The Globus MEDICUS project was originally created and funded by the National Institute of Health (award UO1-BA97452) out of the need to connect 40 international medical centers (in the USA and Canada) for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG, www.curesearch.org) and the Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF, www.cncf-childcancer.org) to participate in multi-center clinical trials and to link them via the Internet2 network to the Image Data Center at the University of Southern California (USC). The immediate impact of this project is that these centers can now seamlessly communicate images instantly over public networks (Internet or Internet2) without disrupting the workflow. In fact the Grid workflow is completely hidden from the participating physicians who seamless procure data and images from both local resources or advanced networks – in essence, MEDICUS has created transparent public network integration.
In the mid- to long-term, MEDICUS will enable healthcare providers at various levels, e.g. large hospitals, community care centers, and private practices see the opportunity to seamless and securely share images and post-processing resources. As people become more and more mobile, so does healthcare. The developers foresee many use-cases where MEDICUS can enable new practices of medicine. For instance a small community practice can consult with an expert University center by sharing images to perform Tele-radiology for remote consultation, utilizing the Grid over advanced networks. A radiologist reading at multiple hospitals can operate from a single point-of-care and stays at the same time connected to colleagues over advanced networks. Using MEDICUS Grid technology enables new unprecedented opportunities to utilize these high bandwidth networks for the healthcare enterprise.
Today we routinely expect information to be available on the Internet, but this is still not the case with medical information. We believe that making it available, in a secure fashion, is crucial: it has the potential to deliver better, more informed care at reduced cost. We believe that our Globus MEDICUS project takes important first steps toward this goal. Our system lets doctors and patients utilize the power of high-speed Internet to easily and securely share information. Much remains to be done, but we are gratified by the benefits that are already apparent.
Director Functional Imaging and Biomedical Informatics
University of Southern California