Wilson gave some excellent background on the subject during Thursday's e-health session at eChallenges presenting findings from the ENSURE project which is examining economical solutions for long term digital preservation in user cases (healthcare, clinical trials, and finance).
Digital medical data serves a different purpose depending on the stakeholders. Health records and data can be preserved for the benefit of patients, their families and future medical research. Over time, the reasons for collecting specific data-sets may also change. Medical imaging data takes up to 30% of the digital universe. Each record has it's own formula (e.g. pathology images are saved in DICOM). In a further 10-20 years, software will inevitably have changed but virtual environments can preserve the software to make the data useful (e.g. associated manuals, hardware, operating systems). There are of course risks in preservation associated with different strategies, and this is what ENSURE is researching (i.e looking at cost/value of different strategies, how to automate the lifecycle, as well as scalability options of leveraging new technologies such as cloud technology).
DECIDE (Diagnostic Enhancement of Confidence by an International Distributed Environment) project. DECIDE is using grid-based infrastructure to provide clinicians with an easy-to-use online application for the analysis and reference for neurological data in many reference imaging databases PET, MRI, EEG available. An iSGTW article explains more about DECIDE, and the project has now built of a large network of users.