Tories would support Open Source Software for the NHS

David Cameron recently gave a speech where he expressed his preference for Open Standards and Open Source Software such as Linux for use in the NHS and other government projects:

We will follow private sector best practice which is to introduce ‘open standards’ that enables IT contracts to be split up into modular components. So never again could there be projects like Labour’s hubristic NHS supercomputer. And we will create a level playing field for open source software in IT procurement and open up the procurement system to small and innovative companies…

…look at the private sector’s take-up of open source software, developed collectively by a community of individuals, universities and small and large firms from around the world.

They build the product, suggest improvements, check the source code and critique each others’ work.

Linux, the open source pioneer, is now the fastest growing operating system in the world, and even IBM is basing their new hardware on it.

Information liberation could be hugely beneficial in the new economy.

After all, what are the great new giants of the internet – from Myspace to eBay – but information processing systems?

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Published by

Dr Chris Paton

Dr Chris Paton is the Group Health for Global Health Informatics at the University of Oxford.

3 thoughts on “Tories would support Open Source Software for the NHS”

  1. The open source community can only add value. For healthcare industry, currently regulated by HIPAA, the need for the open software community to get involved is critical. To start, EDI format needs a deep look and I think there are way better and more efficient technologies then EDI.
    For Security, the open source has developed specs for security that can easily satisfy HIPAA requirements.
    The challenges in healthcare industry is the lack of any standard. Getting Insurance companies, providers of all specialities involved to contribute their domain knowledge may represent a greater challenge but it can be done.

  2. In a report to shadow chancellor George Osborne, published this week, he also recommended that open source software be used and new data software standards set, so that large IT projects can be broken up into smaller, less risky modules.

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