Finding the “sweet spot” for openness in healthcare

February 14th, 2008 by dwentworth

The Committee for Economic Development has released a report [PDF] that looks at ways to harness “openness” to transform healthcare in the US. It gives a broad overview and analysis of the healthcare production chain, identifying areas where increased knowledge-sharing could yield enormous benefits — not least of which is the development of evidence-based medicine.

As Daniel Griffin at the Information World Review blog points out, the report appropriately defines openness in this context as a spectrum rather than a binary, and helpfully distinguishes between information that’s accessible and information that’s “responsive” and “malleable” (remixable). Writes Griffin:

Ultimately [the authors] say [openness] boils down to two things; the first is that information must be accessible, this means that data should be both available and free from restrictions while secondly responsiveness of that information refers to how malleable or redistributable the information is and therefore the more it can be considered ‘open’.

These are important distinctions to make, and the report serves as an excellent introduction to the opportunities and challenges of opening access to biomedical research. Our thanks to Eliott Maxwell for passing it along.

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