Today “Open Paradigms,LLC”:http://www.openparadigms.com announced the first “broad release” of “TORCH2”:http://sourceforge.net/projects/op-torch/. This is version 2.0.0 alpha2 of the new adaptation of the electronic health record software.
TORCH is a content management application specifically designed to manage personal health record information. Using this approach TORCH avoids the stale data and context problems that are exhibited by purely relational systems after years of service.
The latest content management technology in TORCH allows it to store the appropriate data in the appropriate storage whether it is object based or relational. The direct, field level connectivity to traditional relational databases also gives TORCH access to data stored in coding and drug databases managed by other applications.
In addition to these interfaces, direct connectivity is being built in so that charges generated by EHR activity will go directly into the SQLedger accounting package. While TORCH1 supported the Open Medical Billing System (OMBS), TORCH2 will support both the OMBS and FreeB, the first open source billing system that does not require a clearing house. FreeB is currently undergoing certification in California with Medi-Cal.
In concert with the alpha2 designation, this version of TORCH is not feature complete. The interfaces from TORCH1 for drug, billing and coding are being re-worked for TORCH2. The reason for releasing this version for wide distribution is to demonstrate the consistent user interface that is compatible with US Government Section 508 Accessibility Requirements, the W3C-WAI Requirements and all browsers including PDA’s and Phones.
In addition to the new UI, the content object (template) creation process is radically different from TORCH1. While it is much more flexible and provides greater access to the system it does require the development of content object definitions on the file system. We anticipate putting a lot of effort into training the content developers on how to create these templates so they are functional and sharable between clinics. The ability for advanced system users to develop these content objects is key to the widespread appeal and adoption of this application. According to the primary developer, Tim Cook; “This is where the user community contributes back into this project and where it makes this application expandable beyond the competition.”
Due to the nature of building on a solid open source foundation. TORCH2, even though it’s designated at an alpha stage, is a very reliable application. The infrastructure for TORCH2 is running hundreds of websites worldwide. TORCH2 is appropriate for small – large practices in a single or multiple locations. It would be an ideal base on which to build a rural community healthcare network. Once the initial costs of installation and training are paid, there are no ongoing licensing fees to budget. No licensing tracking to manage. The only additional costs would be for customization that is either paid for locally or from the original developer(s).
Software development, mailing lists, support issues (bugs) and file distribution services are hosted by “Sourceforge”:http://sourceforge.net/projects/op-torch/
The documentation efforts are hosted by Open Paradigms,LLC. “http://www.openparadigms.com”:http://www.openparadigms.com
For more information about TORCH2 and it’s deployment timeline please refer to the “Open Paradigms,LLC website”:http://www.openparadigms.com or contact “Tim Cook”:mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=TORCH2Release