The Washington Post reports that the House of representative has passed by a wide 418-6 margin a bill to ‘create a voluntary system for tracking medical errors, promising confidentiality to hospitals and doctors and assurances the information will not go to lawyers for use in malpractice suits…’ If this is signed into law, the question is what softwares will be used for the database? Will it be free/open source so that it can be subjected to 3rd party forensic analysis in the event of a security breach?
The wait is over. The much anticipated software for the American Academy of Family Physicians open-source initiative is going to be primarily from a company called MedPlexus, not the now-defunct Oceania as had been rumored previously. According to this press release, AAFP and MedPlexus have: ‘signed a letter of intent to make available an open-source electronic health record (EHR) for family practice and other office-based medical specialties. The letter of intent serves as a framework for negotiation of a definitive agreement between MedPlexus and a proposed not-for-profit foundation planned for establishment by the AAFP and other medical associations. Upon successful completion of the definitive agreement, the foundation will use MedPlexus’ software as the core architecture for its open-source EHR. As envisioned, the project will likely integrate software from other companies as well, to create a robust and flexible set of electronic tools for use in the outpatient care setting…
AMIA is announcing its first ever Open Source Expo for the Fall 2003 conference in Washington, D.C. The expo will occur during the poster session. The call for participation states: ‘…Suggested items to include in the abstract are brief description of the functionality and scope of the product, the motivation for making the product open source, the development and usage history, how the development was funded, product features, design and implementation details, future directions, and a URL for more information and from where the product may be downloaded…’ Read on for the full call for participation.
Call for Participation in AMIA 2003 Open Source Expo
AMIA invites you to participate in an open source expo during the poster session at the 2003 Fall Symposium. Presenters at the expo are strongly encouraged to include a table-top demonstration of the open source product in addition to the poster. Open source products may include but are not restricted to software, knowledge bases, and terminologies.
Please submit a one-page abstract according to the instructions in the AMIA 2003 Call for Participation for poster submissions (http://www.amia.org/meetings/annual/current/call.html#posters). Following the title of the abstract, you must include the following tagline: “AMIA 2003 Open Source Expo”. Suggested items to include in the abstract are brief description of the functionality and scope of the product, the motivation for making the product open source, the development and usage history, how the development was funded, product features, design and implementation details, future directions, and a URL for more information and from where the product may be downloaded.
The last date for submission is 12th March 2003. In addition to submission via AMIA’s web-site, please send a copy of the abstract by e-mail to Aziz Boxwala (firstname.lastname@example.org). Since the expo is part of the poster session, you may submit an abstract for the regular poster session or for the open source expo but not for both. Please direct questions regarding the open source expo to Aziz Boxwala. (email@example.com)
Newcomers to the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in medicine scene have commented that it is difficult to discern which FOSS projects are the most advanced. At the risk of upsetting many worthy projects and hard-working people I bring the following short list of what I consider to be The Contenders: a United States centric view of those projects and resources that have achieved or are most likely to achieve a critical mass of users, developers and clinical ability. The criteria includes a Free license, a shipping product that is in actual use in real-world situations. Paying customers and availability of contractual support are highly desirable, but not completely necessary for the list. Apologies in advance to those that I have overlooked as well as a number of worthy International projects. Feel free to add to this list.
1) OSCAR http://www.oscarhome.org — geared toward outpatient, family practice, full functionality.
2) TORCH http://www.openparadigms.com — multi-specialty, ZOPE based.
3) SQLclinic http://www.sqlclinic.net — multi-specialty.
4) VistA: http://www.hardhats.org, Medsphere/Vista http://www.medsphere.com
WorldVistA http://www.worldvista.org — multi-specialty, supports large hospitals and large outpatient clinics, may work in smaller clinics.
Honorable mentions: tk_family practice/Medmapper, OIO.
Lists to join:
1) Openhealth: http://www.openhealth.com/en/healthcare.html
2) OSHCA http://maillist.linuxmednews.org/mailman/listinfo/oshca/
Sunspot.net has an article about doctors, patients and e-mail: ‘…So, why won’t doctors just get with the program? While some do, most resist e-mail because they’re scared. They’re scared that e-mail will add work to their already rushed days. They are scared that patients will bombard them with dumb questions. They’re scared that they might get sued for some e-mistake, a liability nightmare…’
Freemed and AAFP! Freemed has been making steps forward lately. The project is now being funded by a non-profit group created just for this purpose, Freemed Software Foundation
Note that I am hardly impartial.)
The Freemed Software Foundation is in the process of talking to AAFP about coordinating their open-source initiatives… according to this letter!
For those of you who dont know Freemed is an LGPL open source Practice Management application. Unlike other projects, freemed is focusing on solving practical problems for doctors in private practice. It is the only project that I know of that has a working billing system. It also has extensive support for different languages.
Fred Trotter, CISSP