We are using the concept of grid computing - many computers interconnected together to share
processing power - to store and retrieve medical images and other records within a group of
hospitals. Powerful computer simulation tools have been developed to assist doctors in diagnosis,
pre-operation planning and surgery. The Grid, however, is much more than a normal desktop - it
is a vast interconnected combination and collation of computers, programs and people.
Combining medical technology and the human touch, the health care industry administers care around
the clock, meeting to the needs of millions of people?from newborns to the critically ill. The
health care industry includes establishments ranging from small-town private practices of physicians
who employ only one medical assistant to busy inner-city hospitals that provide thousands of diverse
Hospitals provide complete medical care, ranging from diagnostic services, to surgery, to
continuous nursing care. Some hospitals specialize in treatment of the mentally ill, cancer
patients, or children.
Advanced information technologies present health care providers with the opportunity to reduce
overall health care expenses by lowering the costs of completing administrative and clinical
Advanced information technologies have the potential to correct these inefficiencies by
electronically storing and managing volumes of information that can be used to accomplish multiple
In addition to containing costs, advanced information technologies provide health care providers
the opportunity to improve patient care by streamlining clinical processes and creating a uniform
and consistent flow of information.
Currently, health care providers use paper-based records to record a patient?s receipt of health
care services. Advanced information technologies - such as computer-based patient records, portable
computers, and expert information systems - provide doctors and medical personals with real-time
access to patient information at the point of care.