The office suites are identical and the migration does not require much investment or training, says Joǎo Oliveira, IT administrator at the hospital. He estimates that the migration will take about one year.
The decision to replace the proprietary office suite follows a disagreement between the hospital and a vendor of the proprietary office suite, also involving the Ministry of Health and a government inspection agency (ASAE, the Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica).
Expresso reports that the Ministry of Health in 2011 paid €7.5 million for proprietary software licences for all forty hospitals in the National Health Service. The proprietary software audited the Sǎo Joǎo Hospital, and then sent an invoice of €1 million.
The purpose of the ASEA visit was to inspect the proprietary software licences, according to Expresso.
Four hospitals in the region of Porto have asked the Ministry to negotiate with the proprietary vendor on their behalf, but the vendor said it deals with the hospitals on an individual basis only, the article reports. Mr Oliveira says he has emails from the company refusing to negotiate with the Ministry and stating that the hospitals have to purchase the licence keys directly from the vendor.
Expresso quotes a spokesperson from the IT vendor denying the accusations from the hospital, warning that it wants to be paid for the use of its intellectual property. The company is entitled to require hospitals to "pay for the use of their software, and regulate improper use to avoid illegal situations."
The Ministry of Health explained that the country's hospitals are mainly state-owned enterprises, that are free to make use of the procurement contracts negotiated by the Ministry, or not. In an emailed statement, the Ministry stated: "Hospital Sǎo Joǎo chose to move towards non IP-products (sic). That is a general direction for the Portuguese public administration, according to the Law. Other hospitals may choose the same path and the Ministry will support their boards and IT directors in smoothing their path."