Benefits of Open Source Software in Health Care

Benefits of Free/Libre Open Source Software in Health Care
Thursday, 03 December 2009
The 8th annual Med-e-Tel conference (14-16 April 2010) will include a track that is dedicated specifically to Free/Libre Open Source Software in Health Care (FLOSS-HC). Initially a movement of a small group of enthusiasts mainly from academia and later on also from stakeholders in the industry, FLOSS is now considered as transformational and something that reshapes the software industry.

FLOSS is not only a licensing model, it is also a software development process. The core values of FLOSS, i.e. openness, transparency and collaborative development, have been recognized as the main driving forces for high quality, innovative and complex software systems. Meanwhile FLOSS plays a significant role in several markets and industries. However the impact in the health care arena is still limited. Recent research studies found out that this is less about the viability of the technology, but more about how the technology is perceived by the executives who hold the IT purse strings. Another study found out that in the local context of the study “…key factors for not adopting an open source solution were closely linked to the orientations of ministry level policy makers and a seeming lack of information on the part of operational level IT managers concerning commercially oriented open source providers.”

The benefits, barriers and challenges for FLOSS-HC are clear. From a global perspective there are a lot of commonalities when trying to adopt FLOSS policies in health care between a so called “Global South” perspective and a perspective from a highly developed country, but there are also differences. The workshop will address these differences as well as the different stakeholder perspectives namely a business perspective, an academic perspective and an end user perspective.

Aims of the session
One of the main goals of the FLOSS track is to serve as a forum for all people and organizations interested in FLOSS-HC, as a meeting place for old and new FLOSS-HC enthusiasts and a place for exchanging ideas, knowledge and experience and setting up new collaborations. Over the years, Med-e-Tel has shown its dedication in addressing the needs of people from all over the world, including developing countries, but also providing industrial partners a place for networking, education and presentation of their work to a worldwide audience.

The global challenges in health care are huge and there is only one way to face these challenges: collaboration. FLOSS has proven in many market areas to be a cost effective, high quality sustainable way to accomplish this. There are still open questions, barriers and problems to be solved for FLOSS in health care. We would like to present the session participants with the state of the art in FLOSS-HC products and developments, but also address the issues mentioned above and work on solutions to overcome existing barriers.

The FLOSS track will be centered around 7 thematic sessions:

  • FLOSS-HC from an end user perspective
  • Business models for FLOSS-HC
  • Prospects for FLOSS-HC in developing countries
  • Collaborative development of exchangeable components (CHOS-WG)
  • FLOSS-HC in education and research
  • FLOSS-HC for policy makers Different stakeholder perspectives FLOSS-HC initiatives, NGO’s, EU comission, government perspectives
  • Sustainable support services for FLOSS-HC

Each topic will have an introductory keynote. Participants interested in contributing to one of the sessions are invited to submit their work in form of a paper through the online abstract submission. Additionally there is the opportunity to present work or ideas in form of a poster. Other options for presenting FLOSS products will be a live demonstration session of FLOSS software applications. The last option to present FLOSS products is in the industrial exposition.

Questions, suggestions and expressions of interest to participate in or contribute to the session and expo are welcome at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For further information and registration, please visit:

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