Open source is the only way for Medicine

Chamberlen forceps (image credit: public domain via Wikipedia)

Medical Software now IS Medicine

Medicine Was Open First

‘I will share my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare’. — Declaration of Geneva

Closed Source subverts the Scientific Process

Imagine I had a new surgical technique which I say definitely saves lives. But I’m not telling you how. I offer to come to your hospital and perform the operation, the anaesthetist will be blindfolded, the patient will be asleep, and all other staff are sent out. Nobody can observe my secret surgery. I perform the operation, take my fee and leave.

I would be laughed out of the profession for this. Without publishing my new surgical technique nobody will believe my claims of ‘saving lives’. It would be dismissed a pure quackery. Without publication there can be no peer review. And without sharing this knowledge I deny this benefit to the majority of the world. I cause suffering and early death to those denied my proprietary surgical technique. In medicine this would and should be completely unacceptable.

But if you replace ‘surgical technique’ with ‘clinical software’, I’m fine.

So, what happens when medical innovations are kept secret?

Open source for quality, safety, and speed.

Public Money, Public Code

Crimes Against Humanity

Complicit….

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