How to Advocate for Software Change

Even if you know nothing about software development, little to nothing about computers and the last time you used a keyboard was — never. You can still be an advocate for Open Source software development and all of its advantages.

Everyone can be an advocate for the Open Source process in medicine by merely suggesting it. If a decision making opportunity occurs with regard to medical software such as purchasing a clinical computing system or writing a request for proposal, suggestion, or insistence of Open Source, or at least investigating the possibility of it. Even if nothing concrete occurs as a result of the suggestion, it plants seeds in the minds of all concerned.

Be prepared, however to receive puzzled or quizzical looks to the effect of a car that gets 1,000 miles to the gallon and costs $2.00.

Don’t make claims that you can’t back up however, and don’t become too invested in changing people’s minds. It is very much a closed-source world, even if closed-source serves medicine poorly. You will likely loose at first, and maybe for a few years. But the glacier method as espoused in the movie Shawshank Redemption is best — using pressure and time to achieve one’s aims. With Open Source in medicine, we can move mountains.

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