Open source tries again with health care

Summary:IBM is a big player in open source. IBM is a big player in medical computing. If IBM got behind a marriage of the two they could give the open source movement in health care a real second life.

IBM in Second Life
Last year was the worst of times for open source in health care.

The undercapitalized Medsphere had to reorganize after tossing its founders for daring to treat their open source promises seriously. Misys tossed some code over the side and called it an open source strategy.

Open source had become a tactic, not a strategy. This was confirmed when Misys later did a deal to buy half of AllScripts, leaving the future of its code contributions uncertain.

Lately, however, open source in healthcare has gotten a second life.

I wrote earlier this month about the launch of Open Health Tools, under Eclipse co-founder Skip McGaughey. And now Tolven Healthcare has taken the OpenVista banner and married it to standard open source fare like PostgreSQL and JBOSS.

Still, with Microsoft jumping into hospital computing with both feet, with incumbents like McKesson and Cerner growing fast, and with the whole industry being given a big shove in the back to computerize by politicians, does open source have the time to gain traction?

I wish I knew the answer to that. I'd know better if I knew how much of a push one company is willing to give the no-longer nascent movement.

IBM.

IBM is a big player in open source. IBM is a big player in medical computing. If IBM got behind a marriage of the two they could  give the open source movement in health care a real second life.

Topics: Open Source, Health

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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