FreeMED 0.7.0 Beta 3 Released

FreeMED 0.7.0 Beta 3 was released on Thursday, March 25, 2004. It is the third in a series of beta releases in preparation for the final 0.7.0 release. This release consists mostly of packaging fixes and user contributed bugfixes, as well as more specialized reports. All users who are currently testing 0.7.0b2 should upgrade to this release.

Upgrades from this version to 0.7.0 should be seamless. The release can be downloaded from More information is available on or

OpenEMR 2.5.2 with HL7

OpenEMR 2.5.2 is available for download and installation at  2.5.2 includes support for HL7, which includes the ability to parse HL7 code. Several other bug fixes or feature enhancements include:

  • Upgrade Prescription features, and minor bug fix;

  • Integrated HL7 code parsing;

  • Fix phpMyAdmin bug;

  • Several display improvements; and

  • Smoother installation with better defaults.

    OpenEMR 2.5.2 is available as a free download without CPT codes, in an installable file with CPT codes that must be licensed from the AMA, or with commercial support

  • McKesson Corp. Switches to Linux

    Pretty major endorsement of Free and Open Source Software in medicine according to this article: McKesson Corp. of San Francisco, the world’s largest seller of health care management products and services, switched its “most important customer-facing application” to an open source network run by Linux, according to Chief Information Officer William Rachmiel. Now if they’d only advertise on Linux Medical News life would be grand ­čÖé Thanks to Tim Cook for this article.

    IMIA/OS-NI Has a New Website

    Courtesy of Peter Murray: The IMIA-NI (Nursing Informatics) Open Source WG now has a new website. It is at: Read More for the complete announcement.

    An update: please update webpages and bookmarks.

    The IMIA-NI (Nursing Informatics) Open Source WG now has a new website.
    It is at: (or for quicker direct loading).

    Many thanks to Karl ´┐Żyri from Norway for undertaking this activity for us.

    At present it is not complete (like all the best open source projects!) and we are moving materials to the site – it is a learning curve for us all.

    If you have nursing colleagues who you think might be interested in being in the OSNI WG, let me have their details. If you have content to suggest, let me know. If you have PostNuke skills and can provide us with tips etc., please contact Karl.

    You can sign up as a site member and, in due course, have access to member-only information.

    Please update bookmarks and websites, and let people know about the group.

    Regards, Peter Murray

    Chair, IMIA-NI OSNI WG

    FreeMED Distributor Marketing Training

    The FreeMED Software Foundation is launching its Distributor Marketing Training Program on April 4, 2004. The program has been designed to prepare Distributors to market their open-source services for the FreeMED Practice Management System and increase their potential for creating and/or maintaining their distributorship. If you are ready to take control of your distributorship you should apply early because the Foundation´┐Żs resources are limited. You can obtain additional information about this program by emailing

    Proprietary System Bombs (Again)

    Yet another multi-million dollar (this time close to 0.5 billion) proprietary health-IT system fails to meet expectations. This time at the VA hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to this AP article, 41 surgeries were postponed due to a proprietary financial system malfunction: ‘…Bay Pines became a test site in October for a new Veterans Affairs computer system designed to control finances, vendor payments and supply inventories. Problems with the CoreFLS program prompted the hospital last week to postpone all elective surgeries. Nelson said the $450 million software package was not properly tested and Bay Pines administrators were instructed to scrap the old system, leaving the hospital with no backup…’ The VA has a long tradition of success using non-proprietary software. One can only speculate why they have ignored their own history. This one has the usual smells of health-IT failure: mandate from above what technology will be used, knee-jerk move towards proprietary software and massive expenditure followed by abysmal failure. Thanks to Gary Kantor for this link.

    Oscar 2.0 Has Open Source Drug Reference

    David Chan is announcing the availability of “OSCAR”: version 2.0 which features’s Free and Open Source drug database, easy internationalization, a laboratory module, improved billing and more. Read more for the full text of the announcement.

    We will be releasing v2.0 shortly on SourceForge. This new version
    incorporates all the enhancements our Brazillians friends have added – you
    can change to Brazillian Portugese by simply changing the browser
    properties! Anyone interested in putting in other languages? It’s now a very
    simple process. Moreover, they have added support for PostgreSQL. They are
    in the process of translating the Help manual to Portugese. You can access
    the demo via:

    Other major enhancements include:
    (1) Thanks to the group, the oscarRx module uses a totally Open
    Source drug database web-service (running PostgreSQL and Python). The
    database you see in the Demo site has the Canadian drug database in it. But
    the idea is that one can access drug info from any country. I hope more
    folks will join Horst and Ian with their excellent work.
    (2) The Lab module is now in place. It parses HL7 lab data from a lab (MDS
    Lab in Canada for now) and integrates the data with the patient. There is a
    work flow management build in for the health care providers to read and
    handle the lab data.
    (3) There is a whole new section for puttingin “measurements”. Features
    include data reports and graphing. Data is copied to the narrative part of
    the eChart automatically to avoid double data-entry. It’s highly flexible.
    (4) A few fixes: Disease Registry can use different coding system;
    immunization module is fixed.
    (5) The billing system is slightly enhanced. You can set properties at
    install time what billing module to take. There is now modules for Ontario
    and British Columbia.

    New features coming soon:
    (1) Direct integration with PING – the Personal Health Record system from
    (2) Decision Support (Diabetes, Hypertension, and hyperlipidemia) via
    (3) oscarCitizens v1.0 is now available via our CVS on SourceForge. It is
    a companion system to OSCAR EMR for these functions:
    – making appointment
    – secure messaging
    – personal health record
    – access OSCAR EMR record
    – (soon) decision support


    Yours sincerely,

    David H Chan, MD, CCFP, MSc, FCFP
    Associate Professor
    Department of Family Medicine
    McMaster University

    FreeMED 0.7.0 Beta 2 Released

    FreeMED 0.7.0 Beta 2 was released on Monday, March 15, 2004. It is the second in a series of beta releases in preparation for the final 0.7.0 release. As FreeMED is in feature freeze for the upcoming release, this release features critical bugfixes in the billing and reporting systems, as well as some critical UI fixes. It has working FreeB support, as well as fixing problems in the claims manager.

    Thanks to everyone in the FreeMED community for submitting bug reports. We have a lot of new fixes in this version. A full changelog from 0.6.x will be posted with the final release. Tarballs and a debian package are available at the project site.

    A new version of phpwebtools is required, which is available at

    There will be an official FreeB release in the next day or so which is meant to work with this version of FreeMED.

    $2.45M Funding Opportunity from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announces the availability of $2.45 million in grants to study the effectiveness of patient-provider Web portals. “Web portals hold promise for enhancing communication between patients and their providers, containing costs, reducing medical errors and enhancing efficiency, but presently little is known about the effect of portals on patient outcomes,” said Dr. David K. Ahern, Ph.D., National Program Director for the Health e-Technologies Initiative. “Consequently, we see both the opportunity and obligation to stimulate and support systematic research on portals, with a particular focus on functionalities which support health behavior change and chronic disease management.”

    The Health e-Technologies Initiative was created to provide the evidence base and knowledge required to build better eHealth programs. A resource and communications center that features tools and materials to help translate research into practice, a collaboration community and information on the program, including its current grantees can be found at

    To view the full Call for Proposals and to learn more about the key functionalities of interest and selection criteria, visit Here you can also access the Request for Information (RFI) that is required of all applicants and pre-register for an informational teleconference that will take place on April 2. The deadline to submit the RFI is April 12.

    The release can be found at:

    Book Review: Digital Code of Life

    Salon is running a book review on Glyn Moody’s “Digital Code of Life” with subheading ‘tells the story of the bioinformatic revolution: The merging of computers and molecular biology’: ‘…Moody’s last book was “Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution,” one of the better books to be written about the free software movement. There are some very significant linkages between the free software movement and bioinformatics. Central to both has been the tension between those who want to share their information (or code) and those who want to keep it secret for proprietary commercial advantage. In the world of cutting-edge genetic research this is a hugely controversial issue…’