Open Source, Open Licensing, P2P Production in Healthcare

Building the Nexthealth application, I'm having to continuously fight the urge to pull back brutally on the reins of altruism.

Users will sign up, login, and be prompted through a 4-step healthcare decision making process using visuals Maarten den Braber and I developed when trying to describe the evolution of Health 2.0.

The site will have zero ads. We won't charge users a subscription fee. We've committed to making this a free-range, public good, and that type of business model is still VERY unique, particularly in healthcare tech.

Because we're committed to making Nexthealth an open-source, easily customizable tool for individuals and communities struggling with healthcare decision-making, we're giving away the code.

Why are we doing this for free?

This isn't the first app the Nexthealth crew will build. In fact, it's just the introductory handshake. We're already working on a business plan for the next thing. So in essence, building the Nexthealth app and releasing it is building the ultimate business card. It says who we are and what we're capable of producing, with very limited time and resources.

Some more info from our FAQs about releasing the code:

Code - Fried or Broiled: We're actually giving you the code for the Nexthealth tool 2 ways. First, you can use the code open-source, delinked from the database our web guru has designed. Or, you can choose to use the code that's 'connected' to the values linked to our mySQL database on the back end - choose option number 1 to use the graph arbitrarily, or paste it over your own database - choose option number 2 to use the graph with functionality just like that on the Nexthealth site (data from the database populates the graph, so what we're really saying is you can copy and paste our values and options or lift the graph and insert your own).

Open API Means Have it Your Way
: Build a bar graph, a line chart, a pie chart. The database we've developed can be modified to display your data values in multiple visualizations (especially useful for team logins and public health research applications).

But Nexthealth isn't the only group to milk the power of creative collaboration to create a 'public good.'

Although still a rare bird, peer-2-peer production for NFP output is not entirely new to healthcare.

Exhibit A: The Open Source Prosthetics Project.

The project is "an open source collaboration between users, designers and funders with the goal of making our creations available for anyone to use and build upon. Our hope is to use this and our complementary sites to create a core group of lead users and to speed up and amplify the impact of their innovations in the industry."

Here's the wiki for the project; sign up to volunteer here.

The Open Source Prosthetics Project is an initiative of the Shared Design Alliance. There's a good overview of how shared design contributes to industry advancements (especially in tech) here.

For a more general overview of peer governance in collaborative software communities, as well as other great P2P resources, check out the P2P Foundation here..

If you're interested in open-source healthcare, I'll be posting additional examples and Nexthealth info in the next few weeks. Stick around. Collaborative health innovation is the only way to reach warp speed before we self-destruct.


mbauwens said...

Dear Jen,

thanks for mentioning us. I wonder if you see any possiblities of closer collaboration, so that our community may have a better sense of what is happening in terms of p2p healthcare developments?

Couldn't readily find your email ...


Jen McCabe Gorman said...

Michel -

I sure do. I'd love to talk about potential, where things are headed, etc.

Please feel free to drop me a line: