NextCloud: Free & Open Source self-hosted cloud file sharing & healthcare ready platform
NextCloud is a free and open-source cloud and file sharing solution, for individuals, teams, organizations and enterprise. NextCloud has been started as a fork of ownCloud but managed to drive the concept into another direction. The development team has made sure that NextCloud is HIPAA compatible.
The core project is developed to be a developer friendly platform as it provides developers with the documentation to build their applications over it and place it in NextCloud AppStore.
Features of NextCloud:
- Multiple users and multiple groups/permissions
- Easy file sharing and management
- Simple user-interface
- Calendar ready
- Many note taking applications
- Share file and folders across different contacts
- Communication apps as chat and messages
- Activity logs for files usage
- Powerful encryption
- PDF file viewer
The DICOM viewer:
NextCloud Appstore has a very powerful DICOM viewer, we have tested it at Medevel.com. It was blazing fast, yet features rich, which makes it ideal as cloud DICOM viewer for healthcare settings as clinics and hospitals.
NextCloud is providing the cloud server version as a self-hosted package which is working out of the box as any web browser on Windows, Linux, Mac OSX as well as mobile web browsers.
However NextCloud also has desktop for Windows, Mac OSX & Linux. It also provides mobile apps as Android app, iOS app and Windows mobile app. The Desktop and Mobile apps are backed with file and folder synchronization feature and system shell integration and we have tested it in Mac OSX and Linux.
NextCloud for Healthcare:
1- Cloud DICOM viewer:
With DICOM viewer application which can be installed directly with one-click install from NextCloud AppStore, you have a full-featured cloud DICOM viewer packed with sync feature, mobile apps, team, multi-users and powerful chat/groupware apps, which make it ideal for radiology staff to communicate and share images/notes with other doctors.
2-Docs/File sharing & Communication system for the medical staff:
NextCloud has all the features set and ready to use for teams to share/ store their files securely, packed with activity log to view the user activities regarding the file usage.
3-Docs/File sharing for nonmedical staff:
All the necessary features for file sharing are provided with basic NextCloud install as PDF file viewer, file tagging, folder management, image viewer, file permission, public file sharing, and contact management. However, the system admins can browse and install hundreds of other applications to use as they see fit for their teams as collaborative document writing, security and encryption packages, antivirus scanners for files and such.
4-PHR " Personal Health Records " for patients and families:
Personal Health Records are basic apps built to help the patient keep record of his medical records securely. As NextCloud is HIPAA ready and providing GDPR Compliance Kit ( https://nextcloud.com/gdpr/ ) that makes it ideal as self-hosted PHR for patients and families. Though it will require certain technical knowledge to make it ready to be used as PHR and ensure it's secure.
5- Communication platform and Groupware:
NextCloud has many apps that turn it into a powerful groupware for the teams and groups as calendar, emails, chat, voice chat, collaborative note-taking and writing.
Recommended NextCloud apps
1- DICOM viewer:
DICOM viewer is a feature-rich DICOM viewer app that extends the capability for NextCloud to view DICOM images uploaded to the cloud with ease.
2- Video Chat : Talk
Video & audio-conferencing using WebRTC.
4-Document collaboration apps and PDF converter:
Collabora Online Rich document collaboration app for teams. OwnPad is another document collaboration app for groups and teams. Soon as the document is ready for download, the user may want to download it as a PDF file, so PDF file converter is app extension providing automated PDF conversion to the files that match certain tags as "complete".
There are several email apps provided in NextCloud App store which make it easier for teams to use NextCloud email for work emails.
NextCloud community and continuity:
NextCloud has been backed by powerful community of developers, advanced users, and open source enthusiasts. It also has been used for enterprises around the world as NextCloud is providing enterprise services for different sectors as education, healthcare, finance services, law & legal services so as manufacturing and construction enterprise services. Which makes it not going anywhere soon as It continues to gain ground on the open source community as well as enterprise.
NextCloud provides end-to-end encryption and server-side encryption for files, but it is slowing down the system. NextCloud provides powerful password options for the system admin to enforce strong passwords and check the password against breached passwords worldwide.
NextCloud App Store has many security apps and extensions including Antivirus app, Two-factor authentication app, Brute-force settings for Whitelist IPs, Login restriction to certain IPs, Ransomware protection and file recovery. However, NextCloud itself is providing secure features.
NextCloud as a platform for developers:
NextCloud is providing developers with the necessary and rich documentation to create applications on top of NextCloud and upload it to the NextCloud AppStore.
NextCloud has released industrial analysis for healthcare usage, comparing between public and private cloud systems and the necessity of using a private cloud with full control starting from source code control, updates, encryption and extensions.
The benefits of using private cloud is obvious, however there are many private open source free clouds ready to be used in healthcare industry. So, what makes NextCloud different?
- Adherent to the healthcare standards
- Committed to provide high security standards
- Developer friendly
- Provide solid platform for building cloud apps which can be extended as EMR, Cloud DICOM server
- Integration with other services
At the moment there are a full-featured DICOM viewer app which is the most and the first medical/healthcare directed app for NextCloud but in the future we would like to see more apps from the community as EMR "Electronic Medical Records" or dedicated PHR for patients built on top of NextCloud.
- NextCloud website.
- License: GPL
- Server: Linux
- Clients: Web browsers, Desktop apps (Linux, MacOSX, and Windows), Mobile Apps (iOS/iPhone and Android)