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We in the “open health” community need to add to this new wiki. Who’s better than the Society for Participatory Medicine??


Last week Aman Bhandari (@GHIdeas – Global Health Ideas) tweeted about something that’s exciting because it’s thought-provoking and useful: The Open 100. It’s a wiki that’s trying to crowdsource the top 100 open innovation companies and organizations in the world.

I can’t tell who created it, but its purpose is to create a “toy box” (or tool box) of things, tools, and communities that others can use to create new things, without reinventing the wheel.

Open innovation is a potent social force that can enable rapid, wildfire development of new tools that nobody had invented. (Please, readers who are deep into open innovation, post explanatory links in comments, for newbies to read.) Heaven knows we need this in healthcare, where innovation hasn’t happened nearly as fast as it has in cell phones.

Why? Well, one big reason is that IT innovators can’t do anything if they don’t have access to data; data is the “fuel” for the “engines” they create, and most data about healthcare has been not very accessible. That’s changing now, with a number of government initiatives that open up vast warehouses of taxpayer-funded data about our health, plus the new regulations that mean you can take your health data and use it in different places. In some ways it’s like your ability to get your banking records from your bank and put them in Quicken, Microsoft Money,, or anything you want. Your data, your choice of tools. In banking, yes; in healthcare it’s just beginning.

How soon will you be able to do that in any useful way? To a large extent that depends on how long it takes to develop tools. And that’s where open innovation can help.

What is this wiki?

It’s a draft list that you can edit. That’s how all wikis are, but a lot of people don’t realize it, so I’m going to explain a little. I’m short on time; others, help in the comments please.

When you go to the site you see the document in its current state: (click to enlarge)

The thing to notice if you’re new to wikis is the right-side button “Edit This Page.” Click it and the page becomes editable, with menus for styling, links, etc:

Example of editing: I didn’t understand exactly what they were looking for, so I looked in the discussion forum and copied this to the front page:

“organisations that actively and openly…

  • share or gather …
  • data, tools, information, facilities …
  • with other people and/or organisations,
  • to co-develop products, services or strategies,
  • AND have demonstrated real commercial/social impact through doing so.”

Note the focus on shared development – enabling collaboration, often with strangers – and the emphasis on projects that have gotten some traction / made an impact.

Very few of the items in the list so far are about healthcare. Add some.

Open innovation is not just about healthcare, and that’s kind of the point: we want to bring it to healthcare. But the initial list wasn’t health-centric.  I added a few at the bottom; please, any developer or community who’s using open methods to improve healthcare, please add some!


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