When that happens, only the biggest proprietary vendors will still be standing, and because the source code is available, numerous open source projects will live on, and it will be wizards such as Trotter who make them work, much as open source has succeeded in many other corners of IT.
Even now, Trotter says, "the place where open source really pays off for you is if you've got 20 clinics scattered across 10 counties. You can get one open source EHR instance and use it for every single one of them. And the cost benefits of doing that are phenomenal."
As for Trotter, he's on to bigger and better projects, such as creating an open data set that shows how doctors refer to each other. He's working with potential sponsors and unlocking more and more of healthcare's secrets, thanks to the ever-increasing release of data by the government.
This data will allow developers and healthcare executives alike to plot doctors' referral patterns and prescribing habits. Answers to questions you would think are easily answerable lie just around the corner, Trotter says. For instance: Do practices with 10 providers provide better or worse healthcare than practices with 100?