VistA Adopters

Here’s a list of adopters of the Veterans Administration VistA software from the hardhats site which includes the Indian Health Service, The National Cancer Institute, Cairo, Helsinki University Hospital, University Hospital of Kuopio, Finland, German Heart Institute, Berlin, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals, Nigeria. Quite a list.

MED: Linux & The Promise of Open Systems

This essay was originally published in the September/October 1999 issue of Medical Equipment Designer, but could have been written today: ‘One of the hottest topics for designers and developers these days is the promise of open systems. For a generation, product advancements in control software, motion control cards and modules, VCRs, and mobile phones have all been hobbled by the promise of profit in proprietary systems. Those of you who travel overseas know all too well that even phone jacks, electrical outlets and voltages, and telephone protocols vary from country to country. While business and engineering goals are sometimes at odds, the promise of having a universe of integrated products which can communicate with each other is strong fuel for stoking the standards engines…’

Houston, We have a Problem

As reported
in my own backyard: ‘The $75 million effort to upgrade the Harris County Hospital District’s outdated computer system has fallen one year behind schedule because of chronic problems with a software provider. The delay puts the hospital district at risk of failing to meet federal guidelines for securing patient information, postpones its ability to collect more fees and makes compiling information needed to win grants more difficult. It is also just the latest in a long string of glitches since the district began its upgrade in 1999…’ $75 million? This is certainly not the first major medical software failure in Houston and won’t be the last.

The Real Strangeness

Newsforge re-visits Largo, Florida in this article which a year ago was the subject of a report entitled “Secretaries use Linux, taxpayers save millions” The odd part is how many of the same things written in the article could/should be said of medicine: ‘…The real strangeness is not that these guys have managed to build such a wonderful, cost-effective system, but that so few others have done the same thing. Everything in the Largo IT ecosystem is off-the-shelf standard goods, from hardware to software to the wires that hook everything together. The innovation here comes in making maximum use of everything, and not necessarily in obvious ways — and in coming up with solutions that are as much social engineering as technical, like the “cybercafe” in the Largo City Hall’s employee break room…’

Uniform Patient Data Network

The Alabama Mobile Register is reporting that Southern Light LLC ‘have authorized firms to pursue health care companies in hopes of one day linking patient information in a uniform data network, officials involved said. The Southern Light network is made of “dark” fiber..[which is fiber optic] cable that, without electronics attached, is unused. The company will sell or lease access to its network to businesses that in turn build their own switching stations or install equipment to “light” the fiber themselves…’ Editor: This would be exceptionally useful if it were a medical-data-only network for data security. I wonder if they could/are getting together with Internet2?

Open Nurse

Interesting website called Open-nurse which: ‘will provide a collaborative forum within which to explore, promote and facilitate the use of open source software and approaches in nursing, healthcare and nursing informatics. The group would also work with other bodies, such as the IMIA Working Group (provisional) on Open Source, and other relevant organisations in nursing, healthcare, informatics, education, and other pertinent fields…’ From the web site it looks like they’ve been in existence since March 2002. I like it.

Brazil Health Service to go Open Source

Thanks to Andrew Ho for these links. eWeek has a quote by the ‘father of Java’ James Gosling who ‘delivered a keynote on “The Future of Open, End-to-End Software Systems” where he highlighted a few of his favorite Java systems. One was for the Brazilian National Health system, which Gosling said contained “a big pile of Enterprise JavaBeans.” He said the system runs on five national server farms that look at 12 million people in 44 cities, he said. The Brazilian National Healthcare system has about 10 million lines of code, Gosling said, and the organization plans to turn its software over to the open-source movement. “It’s like 10 million lines of code,” he said. “I don’t know what SourceForge would do with this,” he quipped. is an open-source software repository maintained by VA Software Inc. More information can be found here.