The British Medical Journal has an article about an all-too-common medical software failure: ‘…A major new information and communication technology initiative in South Africa5 gave us the opportunity to evaluate the introduction of computerisation into a new environment. We describe how the project and its evaluation were set up and examine where the project went wrong. The lessons learnt are applicable to the installation of all hospital information systems…’ Again, thanks to Adrian Midgley for this link.
Monthly Archives: April 2003
Case Study: Medical Services Firm Victim of Vendor Lock-In
Here’s a case study of the problems with some proprietary technologies, vendor lock-in and ways around it: ‘…in testing the system the week before it was to “go live”, my client found that
the messages displayed to dispatchers were lacking 18 letters of the alphabet!
Locations in the facility could only be described with 10 digits plus A, B, C, D,
N, S, E and W, and even then they could only use eight of them!…’ Thanks to Adrian Midgely for this link.
BG: Doctor’s Bills at top of his list
Here is an article in the Bostom Globe about Athenahealth, a medical billing firm that gives a view of the quagmire that is medical billing: ‘…At the heart of the business is a giant, ever-changing database. The Waltham folks collect and decipher the multitude of billing codes and idiosyncratic rules that insurance companies use to pay claims, then track each claim’s path, until the checks are in the mail. Not only are there literally thousands of different codes used to identify medical procedures, and a different number assigned to every doctor by every health plan, but each insurer piles its own peculiarities onto this numeric heap…’
Beale: OpenEHR ‘Stable Release’ By April
Thomas Beale on the OpenEHR list states: ‘The timetable for openEHR is roughly as follows:
The goal of OpenEHR is to create interoperable clinical software components based upon internationally agreed upon standards.
Multilingual Medical Dictionary
Andrew Fairchild wrote in with news of his multilingual medical dictionary which can be found here along with many links to medical language resources. The dictionary is an Excel file that can be had for a fee beginning at $60. An article about what it took to compile it and its purpose can be found here. The dictionary itself is not Free/Open source, but it sounds like a unique and useful resource so I am reporting on it.
Loads of Linux Links (LoLL) Version 1.1.0 released
Loads of Linux Links (LoLL) Version 1.1.0 has been released. The generated links page can be found here. There are many changes and improvements, notably a new look to the website, W3C compliancy, better search engine and improvement of the underlying data with 1400 links added, 500 links deleted, bringing the total to 4000+ links. See full announcement at: http://loll.sourceforge.net/announce-1.1.0.html
Loads of Linux Links is a GPled database and software to generate a website with 4000+ subject-classified and searchable Linux links for all levels of Linux users. The purpose of the Loads of Linux Links project is to collect,
organise, classify and maintain important URLs about Linux and the Open Source movement. The site is updated several times per week, with database
maintenance a top priority.
Followup on HIPPA and Microsoft EULA
Some of you will recall the previous discussion on HIPPA vs Microsoft EULA (the claim that MS having the right to silently modify system files breached HIPPA) (article). Now that 14th April deadline for HIPPA implementation has passed, I am curious to hear how seriously this issue has been considered in the US? has this issue had any really implications or was it just talk?
VA and Inoveon to Monitor Diabetes Blindness via Internet
Interesting article in the Tennessean about a partnership between the VA and a company called Inoveon which will offer patient diabetes blindness monitoring by what I assume is photographing of the retina by special cameras at the VA’s Nashville and Murfreesboro hospitals: ‘…Vanderbilt will place specialized cameras at both VA hospitals. It already has a camera at two public health clinics in Nashville and recently received a grant from the HCA Foundation for expansion to another clinic, Merin said.
Photographs from those five locations will travel via Internet to Vanderbilt’s evaluation center…’
Linux Networx Supercomputer Powers U.S. Government Antiterrorism Smallpox Research
Linux Networx announced today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is using a Linux NetworxTM EvolocityTM cluster supercomputer to study smallpox genomics in light of the threat of possible bioterror attacks. The cluster is designed to provide optimum performance for bioinformatics problems and will be used by the Biotechnology Core Facility Branch at CDC, the nation�s leading public health agency. Due to health problems caused by the current smallpox vaccine, CDC is using the extra computing power to study the disease and evaluate new vaccines.
SALT LAKE CITY, April 14, 2003 – Linux Networx announced today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is using a Linux Networx Evolocity cluster supercomputer to study smallpox genomics in light of the threat of possible bioterror attacks. The cluster is designed to provide optimum performance for bioinformatics problems and will be used by the Biotechnology Core Facility Branch at CDC, the nation�s leading public health agency. Due to health problems caused by the current smallpox vaccine, CDC is using the extra computing power to study the disease and evaluate new vaccines.
The threat of potential biological weapons attacks prompted President Bush to order members of the U.S. military and first response medical personnel to receive the smallpox vaccination during 2003. Since the current smallpox vaccine can sicken recipients, and one to two out of every million recipients will die, CDC has been working to ensure public health concerning the vaccine. The Linux Networx computing system increases the agency�s capacity to study various aspects of smallpox genomics, and it has already been helpful in ascertaining the usefulness of new vaccines.
Linux clustering is a method of linking multiple computers together to form a unified and more powerful system. Linux Networx recently shipped an 11.2 teraFLOPS cluster, which currently ranks as the world’s fastest Linux supercomputer, and the fifth overall fastest supercomputer in the world (www.top500.org).
CDC is running multiple alignment programs on the Linux Networx cluster including ClustalW, Dialign and MGA, to study how the disease functions. The cluster has improved computing performance for the agency, running 45 pairwise genomics alignments in one day compared to two weeks with a previous computing solution. The cluster is also used to run BLAST� to quickly determine the function of newly discovered smallpox genes.
�Linux Networx offers life sciences customers a complete solution optimized to speed-up life sciences research,� said Eric Pitcher, Linux Networx Vice President, Product Marketing, Government, Industrial and Life Sciences. �We are honored that CDC has chosen a Linux Networx system to study smallpox and assess vaccines more quickly, potentially averting life-threatening consequences from bioterrorism.�
For more information on how a Linux Networx supercomputer is powering smallpox research, visit
About Linux Networx
Linux Networx (www.linuxnetworx.com) brings its powerful and easy-to-manage cluster technology to those demanding high performance computing and high availability systems. Linux Networx provides solutions for organizations involved in biotechnology research, oil and gas exploration, aeronautical and chemical modeling, graphics rendering and visual effects, and other technological research fields. Through its innovative EvolocityTM hardware, ICE� cluster management tools and professional service and support, Linux Networx provides end-to-end clustering solutions. To date, the company has built some of the fastest cluster systems in the world, and boasts numerous Fortune 500 customers. In 2002, Linux Networx designed and delivered the world�s fastest Linux supercomputer.
The BioLinux Group was founded in Argentina in the year 2001, and now encompasses all of Latin America. The Group exists for the diffusion, discussion, development, strategies, and guidelines for the use of GNU/Linux in health care systems. The main web site can be found at: www.biolinux.org.ar As well as a discussion list with more than 100 members from many countries in Latin America.
In 2002 we developed Linuxmed 2002 an excellent meeting about the uses of open source in health systems. You can see more information in http://www.linuxmed.org.ar.
Now we are working on make Ututo, the main GNU/Linux distribution in Argentina, to be portable with health applications. We would like to invite everyone to participate in our group, for a better discussion of the health uses of GNU/Linux in public and private institutions.