50 Successful Open Source Projects That Are Changing Medicine

Open source healthcare is forging forward quickly on the Internet. But, fast developments often produce many failures. But, many medicinal open source projects that have gained success development. This success shows that open source alone is not the solitary factor in development. Instead, look to great management, public relations, marketing and a sound program that stands up under the scrutiny of a growing number of peer users and, often, patients.

To limit this list to 50 projects means that we’ve tapped only the tip of the mountain of open source projects available to the healthcare industry. They encompass every subject from ultrasound technician education to national health care database privacy. The following list is categorized alphabetically, and each link under every category is arranged alphabetically as well. We use this methodology to show that we do not favor one resource over another.

Ambulatory Care

  1. ClearHealth: Medical software designed by clinics and hospitals and powered by Open Source software. ClearHealth includes modules for document storage, customizable reporting/forms, lab results and prescription management.
  2. EGADSS: EGADSS is an open source tool that is designed to work in conjunction with primary care Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems to provide patient specific point of care reminders in order to aid physicians provide high quality care.
  3. GNUmed: Use this free/open source software, released under the GNU Public license to andle your patient’s records.
  4. IndivoHealth: Indivo is a personally controlled health record system that enables patients to own complete, secure copies of their medical records.
  5. OpenEHR: In the clinical space, it is about creating high-quality, re-usable clinical models of content and process – known as archetypes – along with formal interfaces to terminology. OpenEHR could take you there.
  6. OpenEMR: OpenEMR is a free medical practice management, electronic medical records, prescription writing, and medical billing application.
  7. OpenMRS: OpenMRS is a community-developed, open-source, enterprise electronic medical record system framework.
  8. Tolven: An opportunity to use electronic Clinician Health Record (eCHR) and electronic Personal Health Record (ePHR) systems.
  9. Ultimate EMR: Ultimate EMR was designed as a Commercial Open Source application rich in features and that can be combined with many other products and tools.
  10. WorldVista EHR: WorldVistA EHR is an open source electronic health record based on the highly acclaimed VistA system of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).


  1. GNU Projects: The Free Software Foundation provides a variety of free and open source software and publishes a list of various open source licenses and comparative features.
  2. Medsphere: Medsphere.org is a community gathering place where healthcare administrators, clinicians, developers and enthusiasts can interact, share, and collaborate.
  3. Open Health: This Yahoo! Group focuses on discussion of FOSS health I.T.-related topics.
  4. Open Source Health Informatics Working Group: IMIA OSWG brings together experts and interested individuals from a wide range of health professions and with a range of interests in the potential application of free/libre and open source solutions within their domains of expertise.
  5. OS-WG: The mission of the OS-WG (Open Source Working Group) is to act as the primary conduit between the broader open source community and AMIA (American Medical Informatics Association).
  6. OSHCA: OSHCA’s membership comprises a community of people, civil societies and professional bodies in health care and informatics industries that promotes the Free/Open Source Software Concepts in Health Care.


  1. Gello: ANSI-accredited HL7 standard for creating computable, unambiguous clinical queries.
  2. i2b2: i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside) is an NIH-funded National Center for Biomedical Computing based at Partners HealthCare System. Their work is designed to facilitate the design of targeted therapies for individual patients with diseases having genetic origins.
  3. IHE Open Source: This project holds an implementation of the Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) profile as defined by IHE (ihe.net).
  4. Mirth: Mirth is an open source cross-platform HL7 interface engine that has established itself as the baseline for healthcare information exchange. Mirth allows messages to be filtered, transformed, and routed based on user-defined rules.
  5. Records for Living: OpenHealth services allow for a wide variety of safe, secure reports and services to be delivered to consumers, leveraging the power of their electronic medical records.


  1. BrainStorm: BrainStorm is an integrated free Matlab toolkit dedicated to Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Electroencephalography (EEG) data visualization and processing.
  2. Medical Exploration Toolkit: Advanced two- and three-dimensional visualizations with easy application building and efficient case management.
  3. MicroDicom: MicroDicom is application for primary processing and preservation of medical images in DICOM format.
  4. O3-RWS: O3-RWS is the Radiology Workstation of the Open Three (O3) Consortium. O3-RWS is an Open Source, IHE based, Internationalized, Modular and Portable Image Display.
  5. SMIViewer: A free (soon to be open source) DICOM volume analyzer for research/teaching on Windows.

Medical Practice Management Software

  1. CARE2X: Care2x integrates data, functions and workflows in a healthcare environment.
  2. iHRIS Suite: Open source HRIS solutions, distributed under the GPL, to supply health sector leaders and managers with the information they need to assess HR problems, plan effective interventions and evaluate those interventions.
  3. MirrorMed: MirrorMed is a free and open source EHR and practice management system written in PHP. This is a Web-based application that is capable of running a healthcare practice.
  4. OpenDental: Previously known as Free Dental, OpenDental is an open source Practice Management Software licensed under the GNU General Public License.
  5. OpenTAPAS: Technology Assisted Practice Application Suite (TAPAS) is a model to assist primary care physicians use technology in a targeted manner in their practices. It is an open source (GPL 2.0) collection of tools.

Online Publications

  1. PLos Medicine: A peer-reviewed open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science.
  2. LinuxMedNews: This is your site for Linux, Free and Open Source medical software news, and has been since March 2000.


  1. Debian Med: The goal of Debian Med is a complete system for all tasks in medical care which is built completely on free software.
  2. Eclipse Open Healthcare Framework (OHF) Project: The project is composed of extensible frameworks and tools which emphasize the use of existing and emerging standards in order to encourage interoperable open source infrastructure, thereby lowering integration barriers in healthcare informatics technology.
  3. NHS: A UK NHS Interface (CUI), program guidance and product library available to NHS users and service providers using N3.
  4. ODIN: ODIN is a C++ software framework to develop, simulate and run magnetic resonance sequences on different platforms.
  5. Open Three (O3) Consortium: An innovative open-source project dealing with the multi-centric integration of hospitals, RHIOs and citizen (care at home and on the move, and ambient assisted living), based on the about 60 HECE bilateral cooperation Agreements with healthcare facilities. Use their imaging, collaboration and other software.
  6. OpenGalen: Their goal is to promote healthcare through stimulating the use and development of GALEN experience and technology as a basis for teaching, training and services in the area of medical terminology, language, knowledge and information and in anything directly or indirectly related in the widest sense.

Public Health and Biosurvellance

  1. EpiSPIDER: This experimental map is generated from news reports from both expert-curated and general news sources on epidemics.
  2. Influism: To be used for pandemic preparedness planning by health care offices, this download computes the effect of interventions like antiviral treatment of cases and social distancing.
  3. OpenEMed: Biosurveillance and clinical data repository based on Web services and modules. Offers solid interoperability and federation of clinical data.
  4. RODS: “Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance” (RODS) is an open-source public health surveillance software.
  5. Sispread: This open source tool was created to help people concerned by public health to easily perform epidemic simulations and to analyze their results.


  1. ATP III Cholesterol Management: This interactive guideline tool will assist the clinician in implementing the ATP III Cholesterol Guidelines at the point of care on a Palm OS.
  2. BMI Calculator : This calculator runs on any device running the Palm Operating System (Palm OS) and PocketPC 2003.
  3. Heart Attack Signs: This Palm OS program provides physicians and other health care providers talking points for discussing heart attack warning signs and survival steps with patients.
  4. IPath : iPath is an open source platform for telemedicine applications such as consultations, case discussions, virtual staff meetings and more.
  5. MedMapper: Medical decision making algorithm tool. Visual design tool generates Tcl/Tk code. Non-programmers can design interactive algorithms. Generates notes for inclusion in medical record.
  6. Zephyropen : Open source SDK for health monitoring devices and downloads for OSX, PC and cell phones.
James McIver

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