Boston Children’s Hospital has teamed up with open-source solution provider Red Hat to create a web-based medical image platform that will speed the time it takes to share and analyze life-saving images.

The cloud-based platform—called the ChRIS Research Integration Service—was developed as part of a collaborative effort between Boston Children’s Hospital, Red Hat, Boston University and the Massachusetts Open Cloud.

“In medically critical scenarios, every minute counts, and the cost of waiting hours for medical images to be scanned, shared and analyzed can mean the difference between a patient’s life or death,” Red Hat executives say. “Faster image processing and the ability to share critical data through real-time collaboration can lead to quicker and more accurate diagnoses, helping to improve patient outcomes.”

ChRIS will enable “a flexible, open hybrid cloud architecture that is designed for agility and scale,” Red Hat says.

The platform began as a project to help researchers share medical images, but it evolved into an open source platform “with the potential to democratize the development of image processing software within an ecosystem following common standards, rather than disparate silos,” Boston University officials noted.

ChRIS provides a standardized way of deploying imaging applications, reducing the barrier that currently exists between app developers and users who need quick access to them. Because ChRIS runs on Red Hat OpenShift deployed on Red Hat OpenStack Platform, app containers built for ChRIS come prepackaged with all of the required libraries, enabling the user to quickly install an app and then use it in an orchestrated way within the platform.

Ellen Grant, MD, director of the Fetal Neonatal Neuroimaging and Developmental Science Center and professor of pediatrics and radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital, said the collaboration with Red Hat came very naturally. “We are both seen as leaders in our respective sectors and have a shared goal of creating open technology solutions to aid doctors in making potentially life-saving decisions,” she says. “With Red Hat’s technology, we are able to create an open, scalable and shareable platform capable of reducing the time it takes to analyze key images from hours to minutes,” Grant adds.

“When it comes to breakthroughs in healthcare technology, it is not enough to have an open platform, but [it must] also [be] one that is capable of hosting and managing huge data sets while enabling researchers to run compute-intensive workloads,” says Chris Wright, vice president and chief technology officer at Red Hat.

The effort to build ChRIS shows how cloud computing can fuel innovation and how open innovation “can quickly change the face of modern medicine,” Wright says.

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