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.