I think that ClearCanvas is setting itself up to be a major role player in the PACS world in a couple of years. They have a great recipie that will see them move ahead of most other products out there. I would just like to highlight some of the major point that I think will allow ClearCanvas to push out payed for big PACS vendors in the future.
ClearCanvas is open source, so the source code is available for anyone to add or modify features to it in future. (i.e. it is FREE)The fact that the system is opensource also means that it will be cheaper to implement as there will be no software costs (Except maybe MSSQL).
- ClearCanvas Framework
ClearCanvas has a comprehensive application framework and SDK that allows anyone to write plugins for the system. This means that someone with a little bit of programming knowledge can add some additional functionality to the system with little effort. This will allow Radiology departments to customize their solution in house.
As with point 2, once developers have created new plugins that add new features they can publish them to the ClearCanvas plugin repository and they can then be downloaded and installed on you machines at no cost, with very little effort.
The suite of ClearCanvas applications is written in .Net which means that almost any developer can develop for the system. .Net allows VB, C# and C++ developers to share and write code for the same application. i.e. If You write a class for ClearCanvas in C#, I can still use it in VB. This means that a whole lot of students who are currently study and being taught how to code in the .Net environment will be able to add functionality to the ClearCanvas System with only a little bit of reading up on the internet.
- ClearCanvas Integrated RIS
After installing the ClearCanvas integrated RIS client recently, I got a better idea of there this application is headed and I must say I am impressed. The guys at ClearCanvas are on thier way to creating a full PACS solution that I think will beat the big boys at their own game in a couple of years.
A Vision of the future of ClearCanvas PACS
One day I would like to see PACS companies that specialise in customising ClearCanvas. These companies will sell a service of ClearCanvas development, consulting and implementation. There will be less PACS systems in the market and those that are still being supported will be forced to open up thier applications more by providing API access to allow in house technical staff to interface with and extend the functionality of thier systems to compete with ClearCanvas. The Clearcanvas suite will have matured to a state where there are plugins for every imaginable use. A new installation will be more of a workflow analysis and implementation exersize than a development one. If ClearCanvas gets it right they will take over because the implementation time will be so much quicker than any other solution because the system is so modular in its design that it will be a case of slap down the hardware, choose the components, configure the workflow and boom! you have a PACS solution.