Study: Open Source On A Growth Path In Healthcare

Posted on April 19, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

A new survey has concluded that open source software has reached a high enough maturity and quality level to attract users in formerly commercial settings.  The study, the seventh annual “Future of Open Source Survey,” has concluded that open source software is rapidly changing the way organizations inside and outside of healthcare do business, according to Open Health News.

More than 800 respondents participated in the survey, which is backed by North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software, including both vendor- and non-vendor representatives.

Researchers found that healthcare users, as well as those in government and media, are increasingly swayed to use open source, thanks to advantages in collaboration, transparency and speed, Open Health News reports.

There’s indications that healthcare players are willing to embrace the technology — and by extension the open source development community — in the data gathered by the survey. Over the next two to three years, 15 percent of respondents said health and science would be most affected by open source software trends.

Generally speaking, cutting across healthcare and non-healthcare industries, respondents seemed willing to embrace open source’s challenges if it met their needs.  When choosing open source software over proprietary solutions, 45 percent of respondents chose technical capabilities and features as important, while only 12 percent chose commercial vendor support as an important buying criterion.

Another broad trend which emerged was that open source buyers were becoming convinced that open source solutions were of high quality; in fact, quality jumped from third place to first as a reason to adopt open source software. Freedom from vendor lock-in came in at second place in in the list.

Another very interesting observation, cutting across industries, was that lower costs, big data and systems integration were the top three business problems open source software is solving.  I can certainly see those as advantages healthcare needs to leverage, don’t you?