The amount of medical images that are generated, analyzed and exchanged by hospitals is dramatically increasing. Medical imaging is indeed the first step to the treatment of more and more illnesses, such as cancers or cardiovascular diseases.
In turn, the data management of clinical images and the administration of the computer network of a medical imaging department imply continuously growing technological challenges. Tasks such as autorouting between imaging modalities, exchanging data between clinical departments or hospitals, or anonymizing images are still hard to achieve in practice. This is a direct consequence of the lack of interoperability software that could bring technological independence to hospitals by creating low-cost gateways between proprietary ecosystems.
This medical context led in 2012 to the public release of Orthanc, an innovative free and open-source software to improve medical imaging flows in hospitals. Orthanc can turn any computer running Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, or Apple OS X into a DICOM store (in other words, a mini-PACS system). Its software architecture is lightweight and standalone, meaning that no complex database administration is required, nor the installation of third-party dependencies. Thanks to its REST API, to its plugin framework, and to its Lua scripting engine, Orthanc is primarily conceived as a versatile, robust building block to bring technological independence to clinical departments by automating their very specific imaging flows.