What is an ‘open platform’?


What is an ‘open platform’?

Woland's cat

The word ‘platform’ is starting to reach the same status as the word ‘internet’ – part of the bedrock, but many have no idea what it really is. In e-health particularly, ‘platform’ is often mixed up with ‘open source’, ‘APIs’ and ‘standards’ in ways that don’t always make sense. Regardless, public policy in the NHS, US ONC and in other countries is being formulated without necessarily a clear common understanding. I’m going to try to address some of the ambiguities here.

The key thing to understand about a platform is that it represents progress away from being locked-in to a monolith of fixed commitments, toward an open ecosystem. This is true both technologically and economically. Any platform operates in two environments: development, and deployment, and these need to be understood distinctly to understand how to use the platform concept properly.

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