Healthcare IT News reports that it is now on a Free/Open Source CMS: NEW GLOUCESTER, ME – Pop the hood on our new Web site and you’ll find one very powerful engine. It’s called Drupal, a free, open-source platform that powers all of our content entry. As many healthcare IT workers know, the value of open-source solutions isn’t just the (lack of) price tag: it’s the fact that the products are user-developed, community-tested and constantly improved.
DSS, Inc. has announced that its vxVistA product a Veterans Affairs VistA distribution that is CCHIT certified will now be open source under the Eclipse Public License (clarification: the EPL’ed version will not be CCHIT certified although they will share much of the same code): “…Juno Beach, FL–January 7, 2008– DSS, Inc. the leading developer of enhancements to VistA, the VA’s award winning electronic health record, announced it will open source the code for its vxVista® an enhanced version of VistA designed for the commercial market. In this major development, DSS, Inc. has effectively removed the greatest obstacle to collaboration in the VistA community by providing their enhanced version of VistA under a commercially friendly open source license that can be used to unite the VistA community…Mark Byers, President and CEO of DSS, Inc., said that vxVistA® is being released as open source software at a critical time in this country’s history. Byers stated, ‘the health care crisis is one of the major challenges facing this country,” adding that “VistA deployments in the private sector have demonstrated that VistA can provide private hospitals and clinics with the highest quality Electronic Health Record in the shortest amount of time for a fraction of the cost of competing products.” According to Byers, “We can lower the cost of health care while significantly increasing the quality of that care by implementing VistA across the United States.” Full text of the announcement after the break.
The Obama administration has made a pledge to spend $50 billion dollars on Health IT, yet it is unclear how they will come to grips with proprietary health IT software, a problem I will call the ‘Some Dude’ phenomenon. In my now lengthening health IT career, I have frequently come across a remarkably destructive and unfortunately abundant person called ‘Some Dude’. Some Dude is the proprietary license holder of an entrenched piece of health IT software that needs to be interfaced with other software. Some Dude is entirely and in my experience usually capable of: stonewalling, obstructing, fleecing, lying, tollboothing, and ignoring any effort to interface with their proprietary software. There are few to no penalties or consequences to the proprietary license holders for such destruction. There are many real consequences and penalties for patients and practitioners by such obstruction.
The Boston Globe has an article on the difficulties President Obama will face with spending $50 Billion in Health IT: “As Barack Obama prepares to spend billions on health information technology as part of his plan to revive the US economy, some specialists are warning against investing too heavily in existing electronic record keeping systems…If America’s physician practices suddenly rushed to install the systems of their choice, it would only dramatically intensify the [tower of] Babel that already exists,” wrote David Kibbe, a senior adviser to the academy and a longtime proponent of health information technology, and Bruce Klepper, a healthcare market analyst…”