In the second of a major pair of announcements (see previous article), Steve Shreeve writes about Medsphere on the openhealth list: ‘…The recent “million dollar question” posed by David Derauf, the public announcement of “WorldVistA” by Joseph Dal Molin, and this weekend’s completion of the successful four-day “Medsphere 1 Conference” in Aliso Viejo, California have prompted me to formally introduce Medsphere Systems Corporation and explain where we fit in the overall picture of open-source healthcare systems…We provide VistA configuration, deployment, support, and maintenance for domestic and international healthcare organizations. The full text of the announcement is within.
During the past year, this list has tracked several open-source healthcare projects. However, there has been one major project that has quietly been gaining momentum and that may have monumental importance for the global healthcare industry. The recent “million dollar question” posed by David Derauf, the public announcement of “WorldVistA” by Joseph Dal Molin, and this weekend’s completion of the successful four-day “Medsphere 1 Conference” in Aliso Viejo, California have prompted me to formally introduce Medsphere Systems Corporation and explain where we fit in the overall picture of open-source healthcare systems.
First off, for those who are unaware, VistA is a fully-integrated healthcare information system that was developed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (often called the “VA”). VistA manages all the clinical, financial, and administrative data for healthcare organizations of all sizes. As the largest healthcare provider in the United States (with 26 million patients) the VA has deployed VistA at its nearly 1,300 sites across the country. The system includes more than 125 modules, including computerized physician order entry, scheduling, radiology, bar code medication administration, lab and pharmacy systems, and dozens of others. An easy-to-use, yet powerful, graphical user interface allows healthcare providers to quickly and efficiently provide better care for their patients. In short, VistA is a fully-integrated, proven, and robust healthcare information system that has achieved an incredible degree of success within the VA. However, this system has never has never been deployed to the private sector on a large scale basis.
That’s where Medsphere fits in… We provide VistA configuration, deployment, support, and maintenance for domestic and international healthcare organizations. Our model is essentially the same as “VistaVoice” that was referred to by Todd Smith. We offer the system in either a hosted or in-house model and charge a monthly subscription for support and maintenance. Customers receive an affordable, integrated, enterprise-wide platform that drives their entire organization. Medsphere is also the first healthcare information technology company to commit to open-source at the enterprise level – the code is freely available for enhancement, improvement, and modification (thereby negating one of the biggest problems in healthcare today – proprietary “vendor lock”). In addition, we leverage a number of other open-source solutions, which have no associated license fees. The overall benefit for healthcare providers is a platform that is affordable, flexible, standards-based, technically robust, secure, and that directly impacts their ability to deliver quality healthcare.
As indicated in Joseph’s recent email, the WorldVistA non-profit organization was created to “[further] the cause of affordable health care information technology worldwide”, but specifically states that WorldVistA “will not sell services or engage in other revenue generating project activities.” Again, this is where Medsphere fits in. We are currently engaged with WorldVistA and other developers on the port of the March 2002 FOIA release of VistA to run on GT.M on Linux. We are now in the phase of actively testing and validating the system to ensure performance, quality, and robustness. By providing infrastructure and financial support, Medsphere has enabled this process to gain momentum. It has also provided the opportunity for people with VistA knowledge to use their skills and expertise in an economically productive manner.
The “Medsphere 1 Conference”, held from August 1-4 at our headquarters in Aliso Viejo, California, brought more than 40 developers from across the country (including an international contingent from Brazil and Argentina) to work on this project. By bringing in some of the best and brightest VistA developers, as a group we were able to make significant progress. The theme of the Medsphere 1 Conference was “The Revolution has begun…” We believe the entire effort is revolutionary for at least five reasons. First, because it creates a fully integrated healthcare information system that revolutionizes a provider’s ability to care for patients. Second, open-source healthcare software breaks down proprietary barriers and removes the stranglehold of “vendor lock”. Third, the collaborative effort to create, enhance, and maintain this system is also ground-breaking. Fourth, we believe the business model of embracing an open-source strategy and a collaborative software development model is unique in the healthcare industry. Finally, Medsphere (as a company) allows the greater open-source community to financially participate in the success of these efforts through consulting, contracting, part-time, and even full-time opportunities going forward.
Of course, any project of this size requires capital to be successful. We have already attracted sufficient capital to begin operations in anticipation of our initial deployments. We have built Medsphere on the open-source ideals of collaboration, transparency, and cooperation. In conjunction with the WorldVistA non-profit organization, we also invite your participation and support.
We look forward to your comments (online or offline) and participation in these efforts.
Steve Shreeve, CEO
Medsphere Systems Corporation
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
949.330.6090 – office
949.584.6264 – mobile