Open Health Tools (OHT) announced a collaborative effort between national health agencies, government-funded organizations and agencies, major healthcare providers, international standards organizations and companies from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States to develop common healthcare IT products and services. OHT’s mission is to provide software tools and components that will accelerate the implementation of electronic health information interoperability platforms, which improve patient quality of care, safety and access to electronic health records (EHR).
OHT, with unprecedented resources, existing technology and expertise, provides a global community that will focus on the requirements, design and development of these enabling tools and components. The results will be available under an open source agreement so anyone may utilize them to provision interoperable healthcare platforms that will link clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and other points of care to make the healthcare system more efficient. OHT’s health interoperability framework will utilize standardized, open interfaces and a set of reusable software components that can be assembled into systems and products by health systems and vendors.
Skip McGaughey, executive director of OHT, noted, “Advancements in medical procedures and patient care have changed the way the world views health and wellness. However, modern healthcare information technology has not kept pace with the complexity of today’s healthcare systems. There is a critical need for interoperability between healthcare systems and the consistent and seamless exchange of accurate data.” Research points to a potential annual savings of $77.8 billion in the United States alone from the introduction of healthcare information exchange and interoperability.
OHT is open to membership from any organization, subject to board approval. OHT’s governance, legal and intellectual property policies, development processes, and marketing and business practices are based on the Eclipse Foundation model. The results of member efforts are being made available under a commercially-friendly open source license. It is the objective of OHT that any individual, organization or hospital can build applications using the Foundation’s framework whether or not the entity is a member – free of charge.
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