Online Program

An evaluation strategy for software implementation in global health

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Aaron Beals, The Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University, Boston, MA
Aaron VanDerlip, The Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University, Boston, MA
Rebecca Weintraub, MD, Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
The recent increase in the availability of both free and open-source software, coupled with the decrease in the time and capital expenditure required to implement, host, and support this software, has made technological solutions feasible in traditionally resource-constrained fields like global health. However, the expansion of options and the hidden costs of implementation have made it more difficult for non-technical executives and program managers to determine which tools will most effectively meet their needs. This talk will lay out a strategy for evaluating both free and open-source software (and explaining the differences between the two) in the context of global health, using case studies to illustrate the criteria crucial to making a sound decision. We will outline the costs of implementing, hosting, and supporting free software, comparing to commercial software and drawing lessons from our experiences developing software at the Global Health Delivery Project as well as the experiences of our colleagues. We will examine the role of the open-source community in the development of software for global health and teach you how to identify well-functioning communities as part of the evaluation process.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Assess a software package, identifying risk areas and hidden costs. Explain the role that the open-source community plays in software development. List the free and open-source software packages most commonly used in global health.

Keyword(s): Information Technology, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the Director of Product Development at the Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University and have led the team developing tools to improve the delivery of health care, leveraging free and open-source software. I have nearly 20 years of software development experience with free and commercial products in the private sector.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.