MEDICUS grid image-sharing system wins Computerworld Horizon Award

August 23, 2007

MEDICUS, developed by Carl Kesselman and Ann Chervenak of ISI in connection with Stephan Erberich of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles was named one of "10 cool cutting- edge technologies on the horizon now" by the influential IT publication.

The project, which began in 2003, uses grid computing over Internet and Internet2 connection for real-time exchange of images between medical centers in the U.S. and Canada.

It has grown to include 41 medical centers and will soon expand to cover all 230 centers of the Children's Oncology Group, supported by funding from the the National Institute of Health (award UO1- BA97452) and the Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation.

Kesselman and Chevernak built the system basing themselves directly upon earlier work by the Digital Imaging and Communication In Media (DICOM) standards committee.

DICOM created a uniform electronic format for medical images, one that allow the whole range of commercial imaging devices - X-ray, MRI, and CT - to display and manage images from any other.

But DICOM's potential for transparent exchange between collaborating researchers, and physicians has so far not been realized, because of technological, administrative, and security challenges of confidential patient data, according to Erberich.

As a result, access to the interchangeable data was limited to the hospital where the images are acquired - not even available to a patient's point-of-care facility, if different, unless physically carried there.

That has changed within the MEDICUS network.

"Grid technology provides the technical foundation to enable large-scale 3-D and 4-D image transfer," Erberich said in a Computerworld story on the award.

"It's not only New Age gurus who use visualization techniques to improve people's health. Now radiologists can perform diagnostic reporting in minutes after image acquisition, rather than in days."

The award is the second major honor this year for MEDICUS. In April, it was one of two projects receiving 2007 Internet2 IDEA Awards. The honor, formally known as Internet2 Driving Exemplary Applications (IDEA) award was announced at the Spring Member Meeting of the research consortium.