What is the vision for an Open Health platform?

Came across a tweet this morning from Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) linking to an article by Mark Drapeau (@cheekygeeky) entitled ‘What is the Vision for Open Government Entrepreneurship‘.

The first paragraph in particular caught my eye:

Tim O’Reilly often explains Open Government, or Government 2.0, as “Government as a Platform” on which citizens build things for each other and participate in their government (rather than treating it like a vending machine).  The co-founder of Personal Democracy Forum and techPresident Andrew Rasiej has a similar notion that he terms WeGovernment.

And then following the link to Tim O’Reilly’s 2009 article, “Government as a Platform”:

…But as with Web 2.0, the real secret of success in Government 2.0 is thinking about government as a platform. If there’s one thing we learn from the technology industry, it’s that every big winner has been a platform company: someone whose success has enabled others, who’ve built on their work and multiplied its impact. Microsoft put “a PC on every desk and in every home,” the internet connected those PCs, Google enabled a generation of ad-supported startups, Apple turned the phone market upside down by letting developers loose to invent applications no phone company would ever have thought of. In each case, the platform provider raised the bar, and created opportunities for others to exploit.

There are signs that government is starting to adopt this kind of platform thinking.

It got me wondering… When will the eHealth community start thinking in these terms?

  • Open Government; Open Health.
  • Government as a platform; Health as a platform.
  • A cohesive platform approach rather than fragmented proprietary silos.
  • Opportunities and innovations as spin-offs.

I wrote in a previous post about the concept of a universal health record based on an open, standardised architecture as the basis for a cohesive and sustainable approach to recording and exchanging health information, health data aggregation, support for knowledge-based activities such as clinical decision support and comparative data analysis. I also posted, rather naively perhaps, about the openEHR platform in which I work, as an open source health equivalent of the iPod/IPhone platform.

I’m sure most won’t accept a Microsoft-, Google- or Apple-equivalent as the platform and will push for an open option. And whatever you do, don’t confuse open source software applications with the concept of an open source platform. An open platform can enable all software developers to play, no matter what their philosophy – ‘what is under the hood’ is open source and standardised – and that is a key differentiator.

But you get the idea, I think – the underlying notion of an Open Health platform is sound. Other knowledge domains are embracing the concept and way ahead in terms of innovation in this space.

When will the health domain  start to engage in the same open-minded and innovative manner? Only then can we start to think in terms of Open Health Entrepreneurship as mentioned in @cheekygeeky’s article.

Time for a revolution, me thinks!

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