Information Management in a Grid-Based E-Health Business Environment: A Technical-Business Analysis

Information Management in a Grid-Based E-Health Business Environment: A Technical-Business Analysis

Vassiliki Andronikou (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Gabriel Sideras (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Dimitrios Halkos (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Michael Firopoulos (Intracom IT Services, Greece) and Theodora Varvarigou (National Technical University of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-890-1.ch006
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E-business today has moved focus to information sharing and integration across organisational boundaries in an effort to transform business processes throughout the value chain and standardize collaboration among communicating entities. Healthcare comprises a strongly collaborative distributed business environment in which information value plays a strategic role and informational privacy comprises a great concern. This new era in e-business, however, is followed by a series of issues that need to be addressed both at application and infrastructural level, such as information heterogeneity, system interoperability, security and privacy. The Grid as a technology enables sharing, selection, and aggregation of a wide variety of distributed resources comes to fill these gaps. In this chapter, the communication of information among healthcare organisations operating over a Grid infrastructure will be presented and analysed both from a technical and a business perspective.
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There are several ongoing development efforts on health care standards globally aiming at information sharing and processing among healthcare stakeholders in a uniform and consistent manner. An important effort towards the treatment of the interoperability and standardisation issues mentioned above is HL7 (Health Level Seven) (HL7 Organisation, 2009), which provides messaging standards that improve care delivery, optimize workflow, reduce ambiguity and enhance knowledge transfer among stakeholders and collaborates with other standards development organisations both in the healthcare and the information systems domain so that compatible standards are produced and promoted. However, the financial cost and the great technical effort related to the transition of the currently used message mechanisms to HL7-based ones, as well as the rather slow adoption rate which stems from the reluctance of the various entities in adopting new technology and changing their perennially followed processes pose tremendous obstacles towards the adoption of the standard.

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