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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v18.i1.350
37 pages

Abstract Of "Bioethics in a Health Grid"

Chun-Hsi Huang
Computer Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269


The amount of genetic information available to researchers will increase rapidly once it becomes feasible to sequence the DNA of individual organisms; for example, to enable pharmacogenomics, namely, to predict a patient's response to different drugs based on his or her genetic makeup. Terascale computation has become increasingly available and is now commonly used to enable simulations of impressive scale in health-care businesses, due to recent advances of the grid technology. Modern grid technology represents an emerging and expanding instrumentation, computing, information, and storage platform that allows geographically distributed resources, which are under distinct control, to be linked together in a transparent fashion. The power of the grids lays not only in the aggregate computing ability, data storage, and network bandwidth that can readily be brought to bear on a particular problem, but also on its ease of use. After a decade of research effort, grids are moving out of research labs into early adopter production systems, such as the computational grid for computation-intensive applications and the data grid for distributed and optimized storage of large amounts of accessible data, as well as the knowledge grid for intelligent use of the data grid for knowledge creation and tools to all users. The deployment of grid technologies in the health-care sector will inevitably foster the sharing of information from molecular, individual, and on up to population levels. Releasing personal genomic data, even with consent, implies a de facto release of information pertaining to related individuals. Protocols generally agreed on are yet to be worked out. In addition, the uniqueness of the personal genotype often renders anonymity of the information source difficult. Strict regulations need to be devised to keep such information from being abused. Determining liability for medical accidents or errors resulting from the use of a health grid while providing health care to a patient is crucial.