Medical Research Excellence - Health-e-Child

A European Project.

The work, which lasted about 2 years, is developed with the collaboration of the Pediatric Hospital Giannina Gaslini of Genoa, the London Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and the Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris. Since January 2006 Health-e-Child was financed by several partners for a total budget of almost 17 million, most of them from the European Union.

Current limits.

Many diseases that affect childhood are particularly complex both for diagnosis and for treatment: a difficult situation made worse from the rarity of certain diseases. The search for a appropriate cure can become a real ordeal for young patients.

Health-e-Child aims to facilitate the overcoming of these obstacles, helping to optimize the existing procedures, many times unsatisfactory.

Share excellence.

Health-e-Child is an integrated research project, funded under the Sixth Framework Program of the European Union, in order to develop a computerized system supporting clinical diagnosis and research in pediatrics, based on the vertical integration of medical statistical data and biomedical knowledge: from anamnesis to diagnostic imaging, from genetics to epidemiology; simplifying the clinical practice through modeling of disease and activation of knowledge discovery automatic systems.

Objectives.

Based on the concept of knowledge sharing to enhance the intellectual capital, the system allows to bring together all the clinical data of young patients, read and interpret them thanks to an innovative model of distributed computing, linking the major European pediatric hospitals and gradually enlarge the network and the entire system everywhere, increasing the number of diseases treated and the action fields (beyond the original areas: cardiology, oncology and rheumatology), and make this platform a valuable tool to help diagnosis, built on knowledge gained in clinical centers of excellence.

In this way is reduced the risk of diagnostic errors and improved the recovery of information and surgical equipment skills.

The wind tunnel of medicine.

How explains in fact one of the responsible of the project:

"If Ferrari has to test a shock absorber for the Canadian Grand Prix obviously does not bring the car and shock on the racing track of the North American country, but tries to rebuilt in its laboratories all conditions that can be created. With Health-e-Child is the same. Instead of studying what can happen to various parameters of the heart, such as its ability to contract or the activity of a valve, the professional works virtually on his computer perfectly recreating the event to be verified."

Practically, referring to documentation recorded in the database, you can formerly establish what will be the actual response of the most important organ of body.

Not only. Using simulation to see a specific detail, for example the contraction of the left ventricle, which must pump blood into aorta, you can virtually see what is happening on the patient, acting consequently.

Quality, efficiency and universality.

The impact of a so important technology on diagnostic quality and efficiency is established. We can only hope for a rapid and widespread dissemination of "model" on international scale to enable the creation of the largest universal platform for biomedical knowledge and the development of new methods that can positively influence medical procedures, thus saving many lives.

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