UKIAH, CALIF. — January 31, 2007 — East Kern County Integrated Technology Association (EKCITA), a federally funded technology project in Tehachapi, California, has selected Mendocino Informatics to build a rural health information exchange. EKCITA (www.ekcita.org) is a public/private partnership formed by the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, two Rural Health Clinics, and fourteen private medical practices. The goal of the EKCITA community-wide electronic medical records system is to improve quality of patient care and chronic disease management in the rural region of East Kern County.
Signs that things are changing: The California Healthcare Foundation report ‘Open Source Software: A Primer for Health Care Leaders was its 3rd most popular report for 2006. Linux Medical News readers where alerted to this report at its inception. The complete top ten list is:
- The Guide to Medi-Cal Programs
- Snapshot: Health Care Costs 101
- Open Source Software: A Primer for Health Care Leaders
- Health Care in the Express Lane: The Emergence of Retail Clinics
- IT Tools for Chronic Disease Management: How Do They Measure Up?
- Medi-Cal Facts and Figures: A Look at California’s Medicaid Program
- Consumers in Health Care: Creating Decision-Support Tools That Work
- Guide to Health Programs in English
- The Medicare Drug Benefit: How Good Are the Options?
- Snapshot: Employer-Based Insurance: Coverage and Cost
Modern Healthcare Online has an in-depth article on VistA and VOE: ‘…Next month, WorldVistA plans to submit to the federally funded Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology its VistA Office Electronic Health Record for testing and, if all goes well, certification. The submission will be a milestone in the life of the project begun in 2004 by the VA and the CMS. The goal of the project is to make EHRs more affordable to physicians in solo practice and small groups, where EHR adoption remains persistently low and where the real-dollar incomes of many primary-care physicians has shrunk during the decade.
VistA was a natural choice by the CMS for two reasons. It is in use at more than 800 outpatient facilities across the VA, and the VistA software is in the public domain, thus it is available from the VA without charge under the Freedom of Information Act…’
The National E Prescribing Patient Safety Initiative, press release here is an e-prescribing juggernaut aimed at providing ‘free’ e-prescribing for all doctors. ‘…The challenge, according to the eHealth Initiative, is that fewer than 1 in 5 of the nation�s practicing physicians currently process prescriptions electronically. Studies indicate that most physicians have been reluctant to adopt electronic prescribing largely because of the cost of the systems, and a perception that the technology requires too much time to learn and install. NEPSI will help address those barriers by providing physicians simple, safe and secure electronic prescribing at no cost…’ This initiative raises a number of questions currently not answered: Who gets the e-prescribing data? Is this really free? What is in it for Allscripts?
eHealth News Portal is presenting a news article named Study finds open source key to European ICT competitiveness which underline the economic impact of Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) on the European information and communication technologies (ICT).
The mentioned study report also says that increasing the use of FLOSS could provide a way for Europe to compensate for low ICT investment as a share of gross domestic product.
Free Software Magazine has an article by frequent Linux Medical News contributor Fred Trotter on the ‘Tivoization’ of Healthcare: ‘Tivoization is a real threat to users freedom, but only when you consider the appropriate context. It�s not just a question of controlling hardware, more importantly its about controlling data. This issue becomes clearer when you consider health software instead of television software…’
The age of the all-browser based Electronic Medical Record/Electronic Health Record (EMR/EHR) is upon us. Local area network (LAN) based EMR’s upon which older generation EMR’s companies have built their products is dead. This paradigm shift is occurring now. This development threatens Free and Open Source medical software, practitioners and patients as they have never been threatened before.
Prior to all-browser based EMR/EHR’s, proprietary vendors of these softwares have to at least provide binary executables which are somewhat tangible and somewhat owned (depending upon the contract) by the purchaser. Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) vendors of EMR/EHR software are ideal and preferred because they provide the source code as well. With the advent of all-browser based EMR/EHR’s, no binary programs, much less source-code is provided. Only the service is provided. The software is wholly owned by the service provider and is not even distributed.