Open source DICOM makes the difference in the fight on rare diseases

15/01/2018 | Thibault Nélis | comments

In March of 2017, 24 European Reference Networks were formally launched across 26 member states to enable collaboration and sharing knowledge around rare and low-prevalence complex diseases. The diseases affect around 30 million people in Europe. Each ERN specializes in a certain category of diseases and in total they involve more than 300 hospitals.

The IT infrastructure includes the Clinical Patient Management System, a web-based application where healthcare providers from all over Europe can work together to diagnose and treat patients. OpenApp, an innovative healthcare software company from Ireland, was tasked with its development.

On the medical imaging side, the CPMS requirements include:

  • Storing large amounts of medical imaging data from all ERNs
  • Uploading data from end-user web-browsers
  • Retrieving imaging metadata
  • Visualizing and collaborating around medical images directly on the web
  • Good scalability
  • Using open source components

Combined with the Osimis Web Viewer, the Orthanc DICOM server offers a great answer to these requirements.

As an open-source project with a strong focus on interoperability through standards, Orthanc is particularly well-aligned to the ideals of the platform, where sharing and openness are central. It can store any type of DICOM image and provides a straightforward HTTP API that the CPMS backend can use to handle end-user uploads without much worry for DICOM idiosyncracies nor for storage and indexing concerns. All metadata is also exposed through the API. In that way, Orthanc fits in the architecture as an internal microservice.

The Osimis Web Viewer can be embedded into any web application and runs directly on top of Orthanc as a plugin and offers a wide range of features, from live-sharing annotations in real-time to video playback, some of which that would be developed as part of the ERN integration effort (and are now widely available for all users).

OpenApp partnered with Osimis, which was in turn tasked with:

  • Providing software packages for Orthanc and the required plugins in the form of Docker images.
  • Providing and further tailoring the Web Viewer for the CPMS and help integrate it.
  • Assisting with the deployment of these components and providing continued support to OpenApp integrators and to end-users of the Viewer.

Osimis is proud to be a part of this undertaking and hopes to hear more encouraging stories from patients whose lives can be improved thanks to ERNs.

Osimis team thibaultn

Thibault Nélis

With a strong development background, Thibault understands what coders need to efficiently carry out their goals. As the devops of the team, he manages the full integration and deployment pipeline to make internal workflows painless, to catch bugs as early as possible and to ensure applications run smoothly. Nothing is ever off-topic with Thibault, no level of detail is too frightening, and no feedback loop is short enough. Except when it's time to grab a trappist beer. Or maybe even then.