A team of medical researchers has produced an open source software tool released under the GNU GPL license allowing them to automate the removal of sensitive identification information from medical reports. Removal of certain identifying information is required prior to sharing the data for research purposes. The team chose to release this as an open source tool because there is currently little standardization among reports at different facilities, which requires customization of the software in order for it to be effective. Open source software provides an easy way to allow full customization for other researchers, and this tool will allow researchers to share medical reports more quickly and easily with others.
The tool is written in Java and is operating system independent. For more information, you can refer to the eWeek article, download a detailed report(PDF) on the development and testing of the tool, or visit the project website.