Criteria in Selecting Software for Health: Outcome of a FOSS Training Workshop

What do you look for in a software for health?

This question was answered by all PANACeA members participating in the second day of FOSS Training through a metaplan workshop.

The workshop had each participant respond to the question by writing his/her answers on the three metacards provided to her/him.

The cards containing the answers were each shown and read aloud by the workshop facilitator and mounted on a training room's wall. These were clustered according to particular themes. What follows is the result of the workshop.


  1. User-Friendliness
    • Should work the way the user think
    • Should address user's computing needs
    • Easy to use
    • Easy to learn
    • With good interface
  2. Support
    • Should be readily available
    • With support group
    • Strong community support
    • Support should be continuous
    • Support should either be in person or remote
    • Responds to the needs of user
  3. Reliability
  4. Security
    • Data should be secure
    • There should be clarity in how the system works
    • Should protect the rights of the patients
  5. Software's development
    • Longevity - Software updates should not affect data produced through the software revisions
    • No dead-end in development
    • There's roadmap for development
    • With sufficient number of developers
    • Regularly updating
  6. Interoperability and Open Standards
    • Complies with W3C, ISO, etc.
    • Can synchronize with other softwares
  7. Accessibility. Can be used irregardless of physical limitations of users
  8. Customization
    • Can be adapted to local languages
    • Control of code rests with user
    • Customizable to new input devices
  9. Cost. Should be cost-effective and with low maintenance cost.
  10. Gender sensitivity. Software does not discriminate against rights of users, be they men or women, irregardless of their gender orientation.
  11. Environment-Friendliness. Software must contribute to the care for the environment, e.g., by being less computer resource-hungry, less paper waste.


1. Responses to the workshop question mostly fell under the themes of User-friendliness, Customizability, and Cost, in that particular order.