OpenEMR 2.0.0 Release

OpenEMR is a modular, HIPAA compliant, Open Source, cross-platform Electronic Medical Records system (EMRS) developed by Synitech Incorporated. OpenEMR runs under Apache or IIS, PHP and MySQL, and includes advanced authorization and auditing functionality, automatic timeouts, group-based user configuration, extensive logging, and supports patient-requested file changes. It facilitates efficient office management through automated patient record journaling, and has been successfully integrated with third-party technologies including speech recognition, secure wireless access, tablet PCs, and biometric authentication. Interface screens are themable and optimized for consistency, simplicity, speed of access to patient information, and minimum eye strain.

Medical Errors Similar Across

Reuters is reporting that: ‘Patient complaints about medical errors in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are remarkably similar even though the medical systems vary widely, researchers said on Friday…”The countries are quite different from each other in the way delivery systems are organized and paid for,” she added. So it appears, she said, that advanced industrial nations, no matter what their approach to health care, need to upgrade their systems, especially communications… Thanks to ScotSilv for this link.

FreeMED Stable Release!

After two years of development, the FreeMED Software Foundation has released a stable version of FreeMED! The new .6 Version has lots of new features including a totally new modular architecture, HL7 support, medical billing functionality, scheduling system, and integrated security system. The new version is also compliant with both the HIPAA privacy and security rules. If you have not looked at FreeMED in a while… now is the time! You can download the new version from

Fred Trotter, CISSP
FreeMED Board of Directors

FreeMED is one of the oldest Practice Management Projects in existence. From the press release..

FreeMED is at its core a fully customizable electronic medical record. There are discrete interoperable loadable modules with support in both the static and dynamic portions of the program. Available are several switchable templates. FreeMED allows access to its core functions using an XML-RPC backend transport, and is fully HL7 compliant. There are several transports (import and export modules) available. There is record locking support for individual pieces of any patient’s electronic medical record. There are several options for navigation including menu bars, drop down GUI-type menus, which include features such as stored session data, and browseable page and patient histories.
USER ACCOUNTS: There is increased user account security in this version, with authentication being performed through sessions and using MD5 encryption in addition to the HTTPS (secure hypertext) protocol’s available 128-bit encryption. Individual user preferences may be selected and stored.
INTERNAL MESSAGING: There is a functional internal messaging system, which stores and verifies the status of messages to and from staff, physicians and patients. Patient messages are attached to the medical record, and are also accessable when browsing a patient’s record.
DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT: A scourge of medical offices has been the storm of papers which appear for each patient and which must be filed and then re-located. FreeMED uses a DjVu based document storage system for scanning, attaching, marking and retrieving all document forms including images, reports and tracings. The documents can be signed and traced.
SCHEDULING: Scheduling has been expanded and improved. There is now group scheduling, appointment movement, and multiple provider scheduling. There are user options to make multiple changes to the schedule without refresh.
INTERNATIONALIZATION: il8n (internationalization) and l10n (localization) are supported using the XML-based GettextXML format, allowing FreeMED to be viewed in any language that a translation is provided for. FreeMED also stores ISO set data, allowing the ability to store and maintain the demographic database in one language and ISO set, even if viewed in another.
BILLING: There is a working HIPPA-compliant billing system.
IMAGE MANAGEMENT: Images may be attached directly to the EMR or may be stored as part of the document management module. In this fashion such things as a picture of the patient may be attached directly into the medical record portion.

Tablet PC using Linux

With some serious patience it is possible to make an Acer Tablet PC work with Debian! This How-To was recently published on SlashDot. Tablet PCs present a tremendous potential for encounter oriented patient data entry. Using these kinds of technologies could really change the way medicine is practiced. For a simple reason, this could make a paperless office more effective than a paperfull office. Most systems now are a “worst-of-both-worlds” compromise.

OpenVistA Available Now

The Pacific Telehealth & Technology Hui (Hui) is pleased to announce the release of OpenVista (TM). Based on the Department of Veterans Affairs robust CPRS-VistA� system made available to the public through FOIA, OpenVista is a fully integrated, enterprise-wide healthcare information system. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the largest, centrally directed, healthcare system in the U.S., has developed and used the CPRS-VistA system for more than 20 years. The Linux-based OpenVista application includes multiple components of the “core” CPRS-VistA system, including patient registration and tracking, scheduling, pharmacy,
laboratory and electronic medical record modules.
Read on for further information.

Further information is available on SourceForge and the Hui website:

The OpenVista software and documentation can be downloaded from the Hui
website. Additional documentation and software will be uploaded to the Hui
website next week. Please register on the Hui website so that we can begin
to track statistics on the number of people using or evaluating OpenVista.

In the near future, there are plans to put the OpenVista software and
documentation into a version control system on SourceForge.

Paul Arinaga

Project Manager

Pacific Telehealth & Technology Hui

1 Jarrett White Road

Tripler AMC, Honolulu, Hawaii 96859-5000

tel: (808)433-6369


TORCH 1.3.0 Now Available

With the new scheduler and Free Form Templates, 1.3.0 represents a huge step forward in usability. Full announcement is within.

The new scheduler available in TORCH 1.3.0 uses the CMF calendar capability to provide each user with a private calendar. Publishing events and appointments the PloneCalendar are visible across the group schedule. Multiple views assist in scheduling for maximum effectiveness. The link to a patient record is embedded in the appointment so the provider loads the patient record from the appointment listing, saving an additional search. See “the TORCH User Guide”: for screen shots of the new appointments section.

Consequences of HIPAA

The San Mateo County Times has a story on the problems associated with HIPAA: ‘…Under the rules, hospitals have to allow patients to opt out of the hospital directory to preserve their privacy. Suburban Hospital, though, presumes that patients want to be kept out of its directory unless they opt in. That may seem like little more than semantics. But if someone is unconscious or otherwise unable to choose, the patient will not be in the directory, and relatives and friends may have trouble finding him…’