Open-Source Health Care Software

Adrian Gropper | Virtual Mentor | September 1, 2011

Software tools are yet another new technology competing for the attention of physicians. Medical software is evolving rapidly from a record-keeping tool to a communications system to a source of decision support and plays the role of a medical device or clinical service. Unlike devices and services, however, most medical software is not regulated, placing the burden of safe and effective use on the physician.

Yet physicians who would hesitate to use a device or service without some understanding of how it works pay little attention to the fundamentals of their software. Perhaps this is because they feel that software technology is not under their control, but, as with other important tools, physicians influence institutional purchases and can often supplement institutional infrastructure with personal tools...