Open-Source in Healthcare – Just makes sense

The August cover story in Health Informatics by Greg Goth,

As deployments begin to gather steam, the industry is taking a closer look at open-source solutions, highlights the importance open-source can have within the healthcare industry.

“If any industry might seem to be a perfect match for the open-source ethos of community development, peer review, and no licensing fees, open-source advocates say it should be healthcare — commonly accepted clinical procedures and standards come to fruition through the same paradigm.”

Even with this obvious observation:

“conventional wisdom holds that healthcare is lagging in open-source adoption. Among the reasons experts cite are complexity of healthcare-specific applications, a relatively small number of vendors and developers that know the industry”

Specifically regarding Electronic Medical Records:

“And, as the drive toward electronic health records and reporting coincides (or collides) with the huge costs involved, the curiosity about the open-source ethos will marry practicality with the intangible appeal of community involvement and an almost altruistic sharing of knowledge.”

Though IT departments of large institutions are familiar with open-source applications the smaller medical practice is still unaware. Still it’s undeniable that open-source will be a major benefit for these individuals. The major obstacle is turning physicians on to this option. If we don’t do it – maybe it will be done by the huge costs of proprietary products or their inflexibility and reluctance to adopt interoperable technologies. Healthcare for the small practice is very communal. The small medical practice interacts with many systems and someday, if the Whitehouse has it their way, will connect over an entire community.

The typical proprietary vendor sees this as an opportunity to monopolize market share by closing their applications and forcing their clients to stay within there own communities. Open-source applications are built on the idea of community and will blossom perfectly with this future healthcare paradigm.


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