Saturday, December 23, 2006

Medical Ubuntu: Coverage and first round of interesting articles.

So far, our little post-on-a-whim "Ubuntu across the medical industry" idea has been featured on (and mighty thanks to!):

We've also started doing a bit of digging... nothing like a good idea to inspire some late night surfing-with-purpose...

Mercy Hospital Opens Arms to Open Source... (Tina Gasperson)
"For almost 100 years a group of women called the Sisters of Mercy have been instilling a spirit of excellence into Baltimore's biggest hospital, appropriately named Mercy. Right from the start, the Sisters have made it their goal to push the medical institution beyond the ordinary by creating teaching affiliations, feeding the hungry, building state-of-the-art emergency services, and launching a neighborhood health center for the inner-city poor. In today's world, all that excellence requires a solid technology infrastructure--and one open source management package to manage a variety of systems.

"Mercy's data center houses more than 200 machines running Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, and other, more obscure operating systems. Mercy CIO Jim Stalder says about 160 of the servers are Windows-based, but because the health care services industry is 'fragmented,' with many essential applications available only on other OSes, he also has to maintain dozens of non-Windows machines..."

OpenVista is the open-source version of VistA, which is an enterprise grade healthcare information system developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and deployed at nearly 1,500 facilities worldwide.

MedPix Medical Image Database Uses Healthy Dose of FOSS (Michael Stutz)
"MedPix is a sprawling online medical images database and diagnostic tool that's used around the world by radiologists, nurses, physicians, and medical students--and the whole system is powered by Linux and open source software.

"MedPix is hosted by the US federal government's health sciences university, the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. It's the brainchild of James G. Smirniotopoulos, M.D., a USU professor of Radiology, Neurology, and Biomedical Informatics and Clinical Sciences Chair of its Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences..."

Interview with Fred Trotter: The Medsphere (Tony Mobily)
"Recently Medsphere, supposedly an 'Open Source' Medical Software Company, has sued its founders Scott and Steve Shreeve. Why? Medsphere claims that the Shreeves illegally released Medsphere software to Sourceforge. An 'Open Source' Software company is suing its founders for releasing code under a free license... that's a bit like Ford suing its employees for making cars.

Recently Fred Trotter has come forward with evidence that he claims makes the Medsphere lawsuit baseless. Read on for an email interview with Fred Trotter regarding who did what in the Medsphere lawsuit, and why every free software developer should care about what is happening to the Shreeves..."

Raw Matter: Free Software and Quality
"Ben Chaff argues that Free Software is better than average in terms of security when compared to the proprietary software market, but falls short of the standards that apply for software used in crash-and-people-will-die type of mission critical applications.

"I fear I have to cry foul here: developing software for the kind of systems he describes (nuclear power plant controlling, medical equipment, ...) means developing software with a large budget and a limited, relatively well specified functionality..."


Wouter said...

Some more links you might find interesting:

* Aeskulap: medical image (dicom) viewer

* GNUmed: a comprehensive scalable software solution for electronic medical practices with an emphasis on privacy protection, secure patient centric record sharing, decision support, and ease of use. It is intended to become a sophisticated decision support system that will elevate the quality of medical care that can be delivered.

* Linux Medical News

* Linux for clinics: a group intending to make a linux distro aimed at medicine, was at first based on ubuntu, but I believe they are now planning to use pclinuxos

Andy Hadfield said...

Thanks Wouter... as this story unfolds I'm finding more and more "medical ubuntu / linux" activity - not a lot of it aimed at South Africa though. Although just discovered a medical thread in the ubuntu forums here.

Wouter said...

The linux for clinics thing started from that subforum. It is no longer active there.

Peter said...

I have just discovered this blog through the item on Linux Medical News. Great to hear about the developments both of 'Medical Ubuntu' and in South Africa.

I am involved in teaching an MSc in Health Informatics in Mthatha (Umtata) in Eastern Cape Province; we have a teaching week beginning 8 January. I also have to give a talk at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha on 12 January, about open source - so would love to say as much as I can about local developments as well as what I know from the international stuff. Maybe Andy and/or SA Doc can send me an email on peterjmurray[at] and we can discuss further off-blog.

I look forward to hearing more about these exciting developments - and maybe even, with some spare time, contributing.

Dani Iswara said...

mostly in debian based..why?

Andy Hadfield said...

Dani: Pretty much because Ubuntu is debian-based - and it would be nice if a South African project used a South African-developed operating system...

theforkofjustice said...

I am a part of the 'Linux for Clinics' Team and we are not based in South Africa. We have at least 1 Canadian, 1 American, 2 Brits, 1 Nederlandar and God knows who else :P

We are very much alive but due to reasons better not discussed, we have moved to PCLOS.

John Dudley said...

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