TECH: Interview with Fred Trotter

At EMRUpdate there’s an interesting interview with Fred Trotter, a leading GPL/open source medical software/software freedom evangelist. Fred has made several appearances over here at THCB but this interview gives a very clear explanation of what GPL/open source software could mean for healthcare.

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John NorrisNeimon Recent comment authors
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John Norris

Alternatively, you could hire an outside company that supports that particular GPL application. And if you don’t like their service, you can go to a different company, because the code is not proprietary.
In theory, those outside companies compete with each other in terms of service, not proprietary features.


Here’s the rub with GPL: You have to hire a bunch of propeller-heads to, for example, make the VA system not act like it’s working in the VA anymore. And you have to keep them, because the VALUE is in the institutional memory and knowledge inside the propeller-heads. Documentation does not equal knowledge and understanding. I can call Meditech. Whom do I call when VistA is broken? That 20-something linux geek who ran off to get rich somewhere else? Riiiight. There is value in the idea, but proponents obviously miss the mark when it comes to the value of a… Read more »