Projected increases in healthcare IT spending spell opportunities for open source vendors, according to the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL).
The consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux and open source software cited a Rand Corporation study suggesting that IT budgets average just two to three per cent of overall healthcare expenditure.
In contrast, IT spending comprised between 12 and 15 per cent in other industries. As a result, healthcare IT spending is expected to grow at a faster rate than overall IT, increasing the appeal of open source software.
"Linux and open source software have become pervasive in vertical markets such as retail and financial services," said Stuart Cohen, chief executive at OSDL.
"The healthcare market today is positioned for major growth, and managers are in a position to take control of their IT strategies and to have a significant impact on their organisations and the overall healthcare industry with open source technologies."
Cohen added that OSDL plans to host a dedicated event for healthcare IT professionals at LinuxWorld 2006 in San Francisco on 15 August.
The organisation's Healthcare Day will include application demos, deployment case studies, interactive discussions and a close look at the emerging impact of Linux and open source software on the next generation of healthcare.
"OSDL has been successful in facilitating collaboration and movement with Linux on the desktop, in telecoms and in the data centre," said Joe Alexander, director of strategy at Bull Products & Systems.
"We are very happy to see OSDL leading the charge in healthcare where there is a wide open opportunity for advancement."
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