Enabling Innovation in Medical Imaging Through Open Source Software

Publish Date: 5 May 2022

By Rob Lewis, CEO, Radical Imaging

At Radical Imaging, we believe strongly in open source platforms and use them almost exclusively as a basis from which to deliver solutions to our clients’ medical imaging problems. Because we design software solutions as composable systems, we can choose the best component for each part of the solution. We prefer to use open source tools because they offer greater customization opportunities, businesses want to be in control of the key components they depend on, and they foster global innovation and inclusion. 

In 2010, I started Radical Imaging as an independent software consultancy. Back then, I was developing custom imaging tools and workflows for my clients using the excellent open-source ClearCanvas .NET framework. This turned out to be a great value delivery strategy since the framework handled the majority of the plumbing, and I could add extensions economically and quickly as compared to writing the whole thing from scratch. But, as good as this framework is, it is tethered to the desktop, so it didn’t solve the IT challenges our clients were increasingly facing. 

Around 2014, Cornerstone.js emerged on the scene (thank you Chris Hafey!); this was a game changer. Now it became possible to create DICOM-aware web applications quickly, without having to worry much about the details of DICOM, codecs, rendering, basic tools and such. But there was still a need for a complete application that clients could use as the basis for their workflow, especially if they are operating in a radiology-like domain; thus the idea for OHIF was born. Thanks to our long-standing development partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital and Gordon Harris (the PI for the U24 NCI grant that funded OHIF’s development), together we were able to turn that idea into OHIF as it is today. 

OHIF and Cornerstone have become two of the most popular open-source platforms for developing web-based medical imaging viewers. Our central role in developing and maintaining them puts us in the best position to help others make the best use of them in their projects; we have done so successfully with dozens of our clients. 

We are proud to announce OHIF version 3, the most flexible and easy to customize version yet; as well as Cornerstone3D. Taken together, these new technologies represent a huge leap forward in our ability to address complex, computationally intense medical imaging workflows in a straightforward manner, all in an open-source, zero-footprint web platform.

In the time since our founding, Radical Imaging has grown by word of mouth into a boutique consulting shop focused on delivering custom solutions for medical imaging problems. We are currently led by engineers and 21 strong, completed over 150 projects, serve 17 clients, and have donated over 5,000 hours to open source projects.

I’m excited to announce that we have launched a new website and branding for Radical Imaging with the goals of helping us grow as a company and growing the OHIF and Cornerstone open source communities in an even bigger way.  

At Radical Imaging, our mission is to create amazing open-source visualization tools and help our clients build world-class products with them. In doing so, we believe that we can help to accelerate progress and innovation, benefiting everyone. Through wide adoption of our technology, we hope to avoid the need for repetitive re-invention, especially in areas where the tools in question are core enabling technologies that solve common problems. We aim to amplify our impact by enabling others to be effective and independent, helping each other grow through teaching and mentorship. We believe our new initiatives will help support and advance the mission, vision, and values of Radical Imaging.

If you are an active member of the OHIF and/or Cornerstone open source communities or want to become more active, we welcome your thoughts as a guest contributor on Radical Imaging’s blog. Please reach out to us using our Contact Us form on our website and indicate that you would like to write a blog post.

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