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J Digit Imaging. 2018 Jun;31(3):361-370. doi: 10.1007/s10278-018-0088-5.

A Platform for Innovation and Standards Evaluation: a Case Study from the OpenMRS Open-Source Radiology Information System.

Author information

Department of Radiology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 550 N. University Blvd. Room 0641, Indianapolis, IN, 46202-2879, USA.
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California San Francisco, 500 Parnassus Ave, M-391, San Francisco, CA, 94134, USA.
University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, 1515 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI, 53233, USA.
Department of BioHealth Informatics, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, Office: 119 Walker Plaza (WK), 719 Indiana Avenue, Indianapolis, IN, 46202, USA.


Open-source development can provide a platform for innovation by seeking feedback from community members as well as providing tools and infrastructure to test new standards. Vendors of proprietary systems may delay adoption of new standards until there are sufficient incentives such as legal mandates or financial incentives to encourage/mandate adoption. Moreover, open-source systems in healthcare have been widely adopted in low- and middle-income countries and can be used to bridge gaps that exist in global health radiology. Since 2011, the authors, along with a community of open-source contributors, have worked on developing an open-source radiology information system (RIS) across two communities-OpenMRS and LibreHealth. The main purpose of the RIS is to implement core radiology workflows, on which others can build and test new radiology standards. This work has resulted in three major releases of the system, with current architectural changes driven by changing technology, development of new standards in health and imaging informatics, and changing user needs. At their core, both these communities are focused on building general-purpose EHR systems, but based on user contributions from the fringes, we have been able to create an innovative system that has been used by hospitals and clinics in four different countries. We provide an overview of the history of the LibreHealth RIS, the architecture of the system, overview of standards integration, describe challenges of developing an open-source product, and future directions. Our goal is to attract more participation and involvement to further develop the LibreHealth RIS into an Enterprise Imaging System that can be used in other clinical imaging including pathology and dermatology.


Enterprise imaging; Open source; Radiology Information System

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