How Open Source Can Change the Face of Healthcare

James Nunns | Computer Business Review | October 31, 2016

The open source philosophy could play an important role in improving healthcare across the world.

The significant advances being made in technology over the past decade have introduced world changing solutions that are revolutionising how businesses operate. However, it is not only business which is reaping the benefits of technologies in the fields of cloud, big data, the IoT, artificial intelligence and others, areas such as healthcare are also being boosted. Numerous companies such as IBM, Google, Microsoft and more have all invested significantly in the area and have made great strides in placing their technologies in this field.

Red Hat is another company who is working in the area and it is bringing its open source values and philosophies to shine a light on those who are “open” the default 21st century innovation model. Open Patient tells the stories of two brain cancer patients, Steven Keating, and Liz Salmi who advocated for open healthcare data standards. Steven Keating said that curiosity saved his life. In 2007 he volunteered for an MRI scan as part of participating in scientific research and it showed an abnormality. Keating did nothing until 2014 when he began noticing a vinegar-like smell for a few seconds everyday. 

This prompted him to go back to the doctors who discovered a tumour the size of a baseball in the left side of his brain. Since then he became an advocate for opening health data and has since collected  an abundance of health data—including videotape of his surgery, his sequenced genome, and raw data from his brain scans. To date, he’s gathered and shared more than 200GB of his own medical data. CBR’s James Nunns spoke to Leigh Day and Homer Chin, MD, MS, Associate, Health Information Technology at OpenNotes, about Open Patient...