EHI CCIO: Open Up To Open Source

Carl Reynolds | eHealth Insider | March 7, 2012

The aim of the EHI CCIO Campaign is to help develop the next generation of clinical information leaders. To provide a junior doctor’s perspective, Carl Reynolds, a self-professed IT enthusiast, is writing a column for EHI on NHS IT. In his second column, he makes the case for open source.

I use a lot of open source software in my spare time and I've been struck countless times by its quality and by the abundance of talent and generosity in the communities that surround successful open source projects.

For example, during my final year of medical school I used an open source flash card programme to aid my revision. I wanted to use the application on a mobile device, but I couldn't get it to work. I emailed the project lead - and the next day I got a friendly reply and a fix.

I’ve also asked for new features for open source software and reported bugs from time to time. On each occasion, I’ve been struck by how incredibly responsive the open source software community is. People take pride in making sure that what they produce works, and in getting stuff that is broken fixed fast.