Total Re-design of Medical Education Needed.

Let’s face it: it is time to clean medical educations house from top to bottom.

I was taught in medical school how medicine was, not how medicine is or should be. I watched helplessly as my ‘instructors’ attempted to teach me obviously out dated, useless information and endured incredibly time-wasting activities such as staring at your shoes for hours while inefficient, ineffective communication occurred. This was also known as rounding and the chart.

Meanwhile, HMO’s the government and seemingly everyone else was tightening their grip on medicine. I watched in helpless horror as the leaders, academics and medical ‘educators’ continued their time-honored, abusive medical teaching techniques and practices which only served ego’s and in some cases were illegal.

And the requirement for more documentation poured in. And the tonnage of medical information doubled just while I was in medical school. And Physicians brains, despite wishful thinking, did not get bigger.

This has to change. Increasing medical information and technology must be met with technology. Instructors and medical schools must in wholesale numbers drop the pen and pick up the power tools. The enormous memorization, time-wastage, disorganization, elitism and harassment beginning in medical school must end and be replaced by efficient, humane and effective technology solutions. The sum total of medical school and residency should take no more than 5-6 years total, irrespective of specialty. Medical knowledge must be re-organized in machinable forms. The greed that keeps effective clinical software proprietary and out of the hands of practitioners has to cease. Abusive teaching practices, mis-management of staff and fear must be abolished.

This site and Freemed is a start. It CAN be done.

How to Advocate for Software Change

Even if you know nothing about software development, little to nothing about computers and the last time you used a keyboard was — never. You can still be an advocate for Open Source software development and all of its advantages.

Everyone can be an advocate for the Open Source process in medicine by merely suggesting it. If a decision making opportunity occurs with regard to medical software such as purchasing a clinical computing system or writing a request for proposal, suggestion, or insistence of Open Source, or at least investigating the possibility of it. Even if nothing concrete occurs as a result of the suggestion, it plants seeds in the minds of all concerned.

Be prepared, however to receive puzzled or quizzical looks to the effect of a car that gets 1,000 miles to the gallon and costs $2.00.

Don’t make claims that you can’t back up however, and don’t become too invested in changing people’s minds. It is very much a closed-source world, even if closed-source serves medicine poorly. You will likely loose at first, and maybe for a few years. But the glacier method as espoused in the movie Shawshank Redemption is best — using pressure and time to achieve one’s aims. With Open Source in medicine, we can move mountains.

The Answer: Freemed Project and Open Source

One of the most unique and promising projects in the history of medicine is going on right now. No, I’m not talking about the Human Genome Project, I’m talking about Freemed and other Open Source clinical software projects.

Freemed was begun in 1999 with the goal of providing fully capable medical record and office software that is web-enabled and free. It uses the ‘Open Source’ model of software in which the software programs which comprise Freemed are open to all to fix, modify and extend. It is only in its infancy, but has made tremendous strides in its short life. It can be obtained with only a few mouse clicks on the Internet at

Freemed is tremendously important to medicine. Why? Among the many reasons is that if successful, much of the power that is wielded by large organizations such as insurance companies, government and HMO’s that conspire to make patients, small clinics and individual practitioners comparatively less powerful will be swept away. It will enable massive collaboration among all health care entities so that small and individual practices will have the same powerful software tools for patient care that large organizations have with minimal cost.

It will remove the fragmented, winner-take-all landscape that now exists among medical software vendors as well as end the era in which most packages are incompatible, very expensive and force practitioners to be at the mercy of one vendor.

Freemed will also avoid the 30 year old problem of no one company or product being able to satisfy the enormous engineering effort and functionality required in medical computing.

It can end the high cost of software failures and duplication of engineering effort that ultimately everyone pays for.

It is the only real answer to the problem of medical computing.

Welcome to LinuxMedNews

Contact Linux Medical News at:

ivaldes at

Welcome to Linux Medical News! The purpose of this site is to facilitate, amplify and begin the process of fundamentally changing medical education and practice into a more effective, fair and humane enterprise using modern technologies. This is a site that can react to fast-breaking news using powerful publishing software that allows anyone to contribute as well as providing forums for discussion.

Too long has medicine followed a rigid heirarchy and either scorned information technology, or gone about it in ways doomed to failure.

This site is different. Technology in all aspects of medicine is embraced and promoted. Particularly Linux and open source software. Radical, free ideas and concrete embodiments of those ideas are (within reason) welcome here as well as a brokerage for practical advice.

Linux Medical News is a collaborative effort, and cannot succeed without you the reader for support and input. You can post your own articles to this site and can engage in discussion of the articles posted. You can also scan the Internet and point out links via a posted article to sites that others may find useful or interesting. Articles are moderated by Saint.

The future is ours, it is time to make the myths.

To be clear about what this site is about:

  • This is a news site about Free and Open Source Software in Medicine.
  • This site is about Free and Open Source Electronic Health Record software.
  • This site is about Free and Open Source EHR software.
  • This site is about Free and Open Source Medical Billing.
  • This site is about Free and Open Source EMR.
  • This site is about Free and Open Source Electronic Medical Record.
  • This site is about Free and Open Source medical Practice Managment software.
  • This site is about Free and Open Source in medicine software projects.
  • This site is about Free and Open Source software projects such as the Veterans Affairs VistA software.
  • This site is about news of the VistA Office EHR VOE effort.
  • This site is about news of the the MirrorMed, OpenEMR, OpenEHR, OpenHRE, ClearHealth and FreeB projects.
  • This site is about news of ONCHIT, Connecting for Health, interoperability, NHIN and HL7.