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Red Hat, Boston Children’s Collaborate on Open Source Image Sharing

Open source image sharing will help healthcare organizations have quicker and easier access to medical images to better treat patients.

open source image sharing

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Red Hat announced its collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital to provide a distributed user open source image sharing interface so clinicians and radiologists can share images in real-time anywhere around the world.

The ChRIS Research Integration Service is a web-based medical image platform deployed on the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC). The MOC is a multi-provider cloud that was created by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and several research universities. 

The collaboration was put into motion by the need for faster and more convenient access to medical images. Waiting for images to be scanned, shared, and analyzed causes delays in patient care, which can cause further medical problems.

Medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer, according to research conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine. While this statistic is not exclusive to technological errors and slow information speeds, the unreliability of digital tools is included.

Boston Children’s and Red Hat’s goal in their collaboration is to create a centralized platform that can be used by the global imaging community. By using open source technology to create ChRIS, the hybrid cloud architecture is flexible and scalable.

ChRIS uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Har CloudForms, and Red Hat Ceph Storage.

These open source tools create a standardized way for organizations to deploy imaging applications so they can exchange information easier. The ChRIS app containers are prepackaged and come with the required libraries so the apps can be installed quickly ad used within the platform.

“When it comes to breakthroughs in healthcare technology, it is not enough to have an open platform, but also one that is capable of hosting and managing huge data sets while enabling researchers to run compute-intensive workloads,” Red Hat Vice President and CTO Chris Wright said in a statement.

“Collaborating with Boston University and the Massachusetts Open Cloud on ChRIS was an excellent match for Red Hat, as this model shows how collaboration in cloud computing can fuel innovation beyond just traditional enterprise IT,” he continued. “Open innovation can quickly change the face of modern medicine, and Red Hat is proud to be a part of this effort.”

Open source collaboration is a big part of healthcare technology innovation because it allows developers to work together to create tools that will benefit patients and clinicians.

Open source is the key to fast health IT innovation that will help healthcare defeat some of its biggest technological challenges, such as interoperability and security.

It also gives organizations the opportunity to implement new technology while still using legacy systems, according to Red Hat Director of Healthcare Craig Klein.

“Open source allows entities to work with other vendors so when the software is developed, it’s developed to work with everything,” Klein explained. “When organizations deploy open source, it makes it much easier to share data and information and to integrate. Interoperability is all about open source, which is absolutely critical in healthcare.”

Klein compared open source infrastructure to how doctors work together. Doctors collaborate with other doctors and specialists because having more people work on a problem increases the chances of finding a solution quicker.

“The same is true with open source,” said Klein. “There’s multiple people working on a similar problem. It’s a natural fit into healthcare because clinicians understand the open source development model.”

As more open source projects that focus on better information gathering and interoperability continue to launch projects, the more healthcare organizations can take advantage of newer technology because they don’t have to spend the resources to develop these innovations on their own. It also gives organizations the opportunity to build on the open source projects and contribute to the healthcare technology industry as a whole.

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