Category Archives: Open Source

Towards Open Collaborative Health Informatics – The Role of Free/Libre Open Source Principles

A general overview article about free/libre and open source software in the context of health care to which I strongly contributed as co-author has recently been published in the IMIA Yearbook 2011. The abstract reads like this:

Objectives: To analyze the contribution of Free/Libre Open Source Software in health care (FLOSS-HC) and to give perspectives for future developments.

Methods: The paper summarizes FLOSS-related trends in health care as anticipated by members of the IMIA Open Source Working Group. Data were obtained through literature review and personal experience and observations of the authors in the last two decades. A status quo is given by a frequency analysis of the database of Medfloss.org, one of the world’s largest platforms dedicated to FLOSS-HC. The authors discuss current problems in the field of health care and finally give a prospective roadmap, a projection of the potential influences of FLOSS in health care.

Results: FLOSS-HC already exists for more than 2 decades. Several projects have shown that FLOSS may produce highly competitive alternatives to proprietary solutions that are at least equivalent in usability and have a better total cost of ownership ratio. The Medfloss.org database currently lists 221 projects of diverse application types.

Conclusions: FLOSS principles hold a great potential for addressing several of the most critical problems in health care IT. The authors argue that an ecosystem perspective is relevant and that FLOSS principles are best suited to create health IT systems that are able to evolve over time as medical knowledge, technologies, insights, workflows etc. continuously change. All these factors that inherently influence the development of health IT systems are changing at an ever growing pace. Traditional models of software engineering are not able to follow these changes and provide up-to-date systems for an acceptable cost/value ratio. To allow FLOSS to positively influence Health IT in the future a “FLOSS-friendly” environment has to be provided. Policy makers should resolve uncertainties in the legal framework that disfavor FLOSS. Certification procedures should be specified in a way that they do not raise additional barriers for FLOSS.

Karopka, T., Schmuhl, H., Marcelo, A., Molin, J. D., & Wright, G. (2011). Towards Open Collaborative Health Informatics – The Role of Free/Libre Open Source Principles. Contribution of the IMIA Open Source Health Informatics Working Group. Yearbook of medical informatics, 6(1), 63–72.

The full text article available via: Apfelkraut.org | PubMed | Schattauer

I am looking forward to your feedback!

Medical FLOSS repository: an update from Medfloss.org

As you might know Medfloss.org (formerly medfoss.apfelkraut.org) tries to provide a comprehensive and structured overview of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects for the health care domain.

Medical FLOSS repository at www.medfloss.org

After the initial launch 6 months ago it recently welcomed the 200th project in its repository: the GPL-licensed iDART software – iDART is the abbreviation of “Intelligent Dispensing of Antiretroviral Treatment” and according to its authors addresses many of the challenges faced by public ART dispensing pharmacies in developing countries.

Starting with originally just 120 projects, the medfloss.org database currently holds:

… and much more useful information.

My cordial thanks goes to all the contributors that already made and hopefully will continue to make use of the open content concept by revising/extending existing information or adding new content!

For more information about the site and its objectives please refer to the mission statement or these slides. Beside amendments to the actual content I also highly appreciate any general feedback about the site, offered functionality and shortcomings of it.

Some thoughts on Flattr and other social payment services

flattr - A social payment service

Welcome to my blog! If you like it or me, give money to me by pressing the nice flattr button at the side bar.

Hello?! … are you still there??

Great! Some months ago I read some news about these Piratebay guys that ruined with their BitTorrent tracker the whole movie and record industries. This time these news have not been about the next industry they are about to take down, but about that they seriously thought on how money could be transferred from the consumers to the producers in this cursed “all-for-free”-Internet. The result was a new service that is called Flattr and currently still is in beta phase. Kachingle is by the way another service of this kind, based in the United States while Flattr is – as Piratebay – of Swedish origin.

Continue reading Some thoughts on Flattr and other social payment services

Share your experiences with FLOSS in health care

Are you a practice, clinic or any other health care institution that is using medical open source software in daily routine? And wasn’t it quite hard for you to find the right software, to get it up and running and to finally customize it to your needs without having any experienced users or reference sites at hand?

Even a high number of downloads or a strong ‘activity percentile’ of an open source software project doesn’t tell you anything about the suitability for your purposes and in general about the stability and efficiency that are required for successful clinical practice.

But what if you could see on a per-project basis at which site it is already deployed and even whom you could contact and ask for advice and personal experiences?

Continue reading Share your experiences with FLOSS in health care

New medical FLOSS listing/platform online

Medfloss.org (formerly medfoss.apfelkraut.org) should provide a comprehensive and structured overview of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects for the health care domain. Moreover it should offer a platform to foster the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences about these projects.

Medical FLOSS Portal at www.medfloss.org

For details about the offered features and services please refer to the Mission Statement.

Continue reading New medical FLOSS listing/platform online

Valkaama – an Open Source movie

Valkaama - the new Open Source movie

… and no worries, the movie is not about Open Source, but is released following the same principles than Open Source software. Beside the actual movie also all of its sources (like raw material of 173 GB in size, the script etc.) are freely available.

The title Valkaama is a composition of the Finnish words “valkama” (home) and “kaamos” (polar night). In a bit more than one and a half hours the director Tim Baumann tells the story of two very contrary characters that hook together not quite by accident to finally reach their ultimate destiny in Lapland. The drama is based on the novel “Valkama” written by Hendrik Behnisch.

The official trailer is embedded at the end of this post, you can watch the full movie directly at the homepage of Valkaama or download it via BitTorrent.

Continue reading Valkaama – an Open Source movie