Top 9 Benefits Of Open Sourcing Your Proprietary Medtech Source Code

Shahid Shah | MED Device Online | November 20, 2014

Last month, I described techniques to help regulatory teams overcome their fear of using open source software (OSS) in medical devices and digital health applications. While the use of OSS in medical device designs is growing, the opportunity to share that device software with others is something very few medical device companies have really considered. Even Microsoft recently open sourced its .NET infrastructure to gain some of the benefits that I outline below. Because medical device software is often very specialized and generally considered a small market, it has remained primarily proprietary and closed source.

This article will discuss the benefits medical device makers and health IT vendors can reap when opening the source code to their software. Almost any software that is embedded and doesn’t end up generating significant direct revenue on its own makes sense to open source. When your colleagues tell you that there’s not much benefit to open sourcing, remind them of what Microsoft recently did with .NET. Here’s why Microsoft and others choose to open source:

1. Visibility: When you “open” your software, its visibility will increase because it is not proprietary. The press, competitors, partners, and others will all talk about it without thinking they are promoting a specific company. If the strategy is approached properly, the software has a chance to become ubiquitous without you having to spend millions on marketing...