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Is free-software open-source ready for medical applications?

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1 Author(s)
Nicholas Mc Guire ; Distributed & Embedded System Lab(DSLab), Lanzhou University, China

Summary form only given. While in the past years free-software has gained some acceptance in the domain of medical applications it has been mainly focused on quite typical IT-infrastructure cases - may that be billing systems, data warehousing, databases and content management systems a second area where free software has made prominent entrance has been in the area of imaging and high-volume data processing. In the area of medical devices, with rare exceptions, free-software is still quite underrepresented - in part due to acceptance but in part also due to plain technical reasons. GNU/Linux, real-time and embedded variants and many free-software projected have made there way into medical applications - but is Free-software ready to cover the wide area of demands on medical platforms and there applications? The demands of medical platforms stretch more or less the entire range of computational capabilities: * battery powered - robust against power-failures * reliable in rough environment * compliant with safety regulations * robust and secure software platforms * standalone, networked all the way to clusters * extensibility for specialized hardware and software * from head-less to multithread graphical user-interfaces. And all this for devices that sometimes only will be built in a few 10s or hundred devices? What advantages could free-software have here - what limitations are there - where do we still need to do work. Free software is not the answer to all problems in medical computing (or in any other area) - but it has a plethora of innovative and powerful solutions to discover. We will outline some of them along with some outstanding medical applications that have been built on free-software components.

Published in:

IT in Medicine and Education, 2008. ITME 2008. IEEE International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

12-14 Dec. 2008