Healthcare slow to adopt, not to adapt: Promise for open source in 2013

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Open source health

Open source in healthcare remains in its infancy. This year saw some great activity with open source in health. Our community covered medical devices with available source code, electronic patient records, open product design and 3D printing, crowdfunding, and big data. These big ideas and innovations, but I predict that as more people take personal responsibility for their health in 2013, the greater the demand will be for faster, more affordable solutions... read: open source.

It's really no wonder open source solutions and strategies have been more slowly adopted in healthcare than other industries—the nature of caring for people's health, especially on a large scale, requires that the processes surrounding it and the industry supporting it be structured in such a way that it's able to withstand the tests, trials, and treatments that demand consistancy and accuracy. 

But what they haven't been is slower to adapt. Once in place, open source technologies in healthcare have spurred innovation that had been at a standstill, in areas like funding and research. The great thing about open source is that anyone with a great idea can help out; the barrier for entrance has been lowered. In healthcare especially, the key is that people are coming to trust that this doesn't mean quality and safety are lowered as well.

Quite the opposite is true. Initiatives like MedStartr and DocGraph are the result of hard work, long hours, and new ideas from experienced people in the industry who are passionate about better care and options for those that need help now. 

Top 10 open*health posts in 2012:

1. Join the M revolution

2. BioCurious? The DIY garage biology movement

3. Join the M revolution—M and R programming languages

4. Join the M revolution—Get your tools

5. Big data, algorithms, and Moneyball medicine—Part I

6. Big data in healthcare: Transparency is transformative

7. Birth control: An open design concept

8. Kickstarter doesn't do healthcare, MedStartr seizes opportunity

9. Open source electronic health records for all—at OSCON 2012

10. Could Watson be your doctor's new AI ally?

Jen leads a team of community managers for the Digital Communities team at Red Hat. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and daughters, June and Jewel.


There is also products like OpenEMR, which is a
ONC-ATB Ambulatory EHR 2011-2012 certified electronic health records and medical practice management application that satisfies the 'Meaningful Use' criteria of the HITECH Act..

Not to mention the widespread adoption of OpenEMR, VistA, OpenMRS, Mirth, OpenClinica, Ushahidi, EPI Info, and so many other great open source solutions being adopted by the global healthcare community.

Not to mention the accelerating efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs funded OSEHRA (Open Source Electronic Health Records Agent) initiative to modernize the government open source VistA health IT system, as well:

What about GNU/Health ?

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