Wired: Open Source Everywhere

Interesting article on Wired about Free/Open Source not just being about software. They use public health interventions with Cholera as an example as well as chronicle FOSS spread to other disciplines: ‘…But software is just the beginning. Open source has spread to other disciplines, from the hard sciences to the liberal arts. Biologists have embraced open source methods in genomics and informatics, building massive databases to genetically sequence E. coli, yeast, and other workhorses of lab research. NASA has adopted open source principles as part of its Mars mission, calling on volunteer “clickworkers” to identify millions of craters and help draw a map of the Red Planet. There is open source publishing: With Bruce Perens, who helped define open source software in the ’90s, Prentice Hall is publishing a series of computer books open to any use, modification, or redistribution, with readers’ improvements considered for succeeding editions. There are library efforts like Project Gutenberg, which has already digitized more than 6,000 books, with hundreds of volunteers typing in, page by page, classics from Shakespeare to Stendhal…’

Federal Agents Go After Medical Manager

As reported on Charleston.Net: Medical Manager, a practice management software, owned by WebMD, is being investigated by federal regulators relating to kickbacks. ‘…WebMD said it believes the federal probe was initiated by “misleading information” from two former employees at its Medical Manager subsidiary who were terminated for taking “improper kickbacks.” Medical Manager provides software that helps physicians manage their practices…’

FOSS Gaining Public Sector Visibility

Linux is being trialled in nine projects across the UK public sector as part of government-wide plans to promote cheap and efficient alternatives to proprietary software products.

Following Munich’s committment earlier this year to move to Linux and OpenOffice. The UK has nine ongoing trial studies of FOSS across the public sector.

This article states the trials are being backed by a governement spending watchdog group. IBM is leading this effort to spread Linux use in governments around the globe.

Taking the phrase “all politics is local” seriously is likely to create the ground swell of FOSS use needed for further spread in government use as this report from earlier this year indicates. Pressure applied to city councils and volunteerism among local user groups to run trials such as this will help.

18 Million Linux Users?

The Linux Counter Organization estimates there are 18 million current Linux users worldwide: ‘…Right now there are 139,971 users registered and 125,648 machines registered at the Linux Counter site, which leads to an overall estimate of about 18 million users – up from about 7.5 million users which was the official estimate in March 1998…’ The method of estimation can be found here.

Old News Retracted: AAFP Total Sell Out to Microsoft/Proprietary Vendors

Updated/retraction 10/14/03 11:30am: This is OLD NEWS from 2002 and apparently not the current direction of AAFP. This is difficult to discern from the AAFP website because the article has no date on it. Linux Medical News apologizes for the error. In an apparent total sell out to Microsoft and proprietary vendors, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has abandoned their often stated ‘open source’ approach to their member medical record. As detailed in this executive summary, AAFP has ‘partnered’ with Microsoft to identify vendors that meet their specifications which must include using ‘a Microsoft operating system and database (specifically, Windows and SQL Server)’. The vendors listed do not include a single Free and Open Source product.

Tkfp EMR has HIPAA ANSI X12 4010A1 Electronic Insurance Claim Format

The latest version of the Tkfp open source EMR has
the ability to produce the HIPAA required ANSI X12 400A1 claim format required for electronic insurance claims in the U.S. It is written in Tcl/Tk and integrates with the demographic/insurance, accounting and note generating modules of Tkfp. The provider can generate the claim him or herself, having it ready for transmission at the same time the note is finished, assuming all the required insurance information is entered correctly. Tkfp is available at Sourceforge.

The ANSI X12 V4010A1 files are passing almost all the tests at the HIPAA Conformance Certification Organization site.
So far the system is designed to work with an on-line clearinghouse such as MDOn-line who
process the payor responses. Eventually we may be able to process those in Tkfp as well. We feel the
ANSI X12 837 form is the initial step.

The file Tk_familypractice_55.tar.gz has a self installation script included and can be used as a base install on Linux and includes all needed Tcl/Tk and extensions. It should be installed in an ordinary user directory and does not depend on any system libraries. This makes it very easy to install or remove at the expense of a rather large 70mb download. Also required for billing are PYTHON with the PYTHON Imaging library. Also required is almost any version of PERL is for a few small but important functions. The file Tk_familypractice_55_patch.tar.gz has the latest changes and can be extracted in the same directory from where Tkfp was installed with the command:
tar xvfz ./Tk_familypractice_55_patch.tar.gz
It can also be used with Winzip to apply the patch
to the Windows version of Tkfp. The Windows version also needs PYTHON and PERL and the install is not as automated as on Linux.

FOSS Events at Fall AMIA 2003

A short guide to the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in medicine events at the fall AMIA 2003 conference in Washington, D.C. More information, schedule and a searachable program can be found here.

  • Sunday, November 9th Tutorial, 8:30-12:00 ‘Open Source and Free Software: The Potential for Applying Open Source Solutions to Health Informatics Problems in Education, Research and Practice’ Delaware 1 room.
  • Monday, November 10th Panel discussion, 3:30-5:00pm ‘American Academy of Family Physicians Open Source EHR’ Washington 3 room. 5:15-7:00 FOSS poster session Exhibit hall B and C South and Linux Medical News Achievement Award, exact time and place of the award to be announced.
  • Wednesday, November 12th Panel discussion 10:00am-11:30am ‘Open source in health care: experiences, visions and future directions’ Washington 1 room.
  • Care2x workshop at HON, MEDNET annual conference in Geneva

    Care2x has been accepted for a workshop at Mednet. MEDNET is the annual conference of the Society for the Internet in Medicine (SIM). SIM Originated in 1996 to build a network of Internet players and users sharing the latest research developments and up-to-date tools in Medicine, health and the Internet.

    This year MedNet 2003 is organized by the Health On the Net Foundation (HON) in Geneva, prior to and in connection with the Wolrld Summit On the Information Society (WSIS), which will take place in Geneva the 10 – 12 December 2003.

    This year’s edition promises to be truly unique, taking place alongside the World Summit on the Information Society ( WSIS ), during which leaders from Government, Industry and Civil Society will gather to set the agenda for tomorrow’s information society. It is a good idea to give a mail to the participants of WSIS of your country to visit the Open Source Care2x workshop to get more information about Open Source in Medicine. Here the complete participants list.

    Also interesting at this point is that the Open Source Health Care Allianz (OSHA) anual meeting is at the same time at the same place. 🙂


    AAFP – Open Source or Not?

    The AAFP has ratcheted up its activity on the electronic health records front, but not on open source. This press release announces alliances between the AAFP and two software companies — GE Medical Systems Information Technologies and Medplexus — were signed, sealed and delivered last week. In addition, the Academy has reached an agreement in principle with Hewlett Packard regarding hardware. This move brings into question the current status of the open source comittment made in this announcement. “The open-source model is vital to the project for two reasons: The model lowers physicians’ cost by eliminating licensing fees and allows the creation of a community of users and developers who can contribute to the software’s evolution.” Maybe ‘vital’ wasn’t quite the word they meant?