Major VistA Office EHR Release Expected Next Week

Next week should be quite a week for the Veterans Administration VistA software. Among other things, CMS is expected to release VistAOffice EMR/EHR (or Vista Office with a space?) on or about August 1st. VistA Office EHR is a highly-anticipated, easy to install (but apparently *not* easy to configure) version of the VA VistA software that is oriented towards small physician’s offices. Here’s the blow by blow of how the ‘price’ of VistA Office EHR has unfolded to me: First it was free of cost and license according to the NY Times, then HHS ‘backed off’ of that saying that it will actually cost $2700, purportedly for a Cache’s MUMPS license. Now it may be that you get a free in cost, but not license, for a Cache limited time 3 seat proprietary license. Rumor has it that it really will be free in cost and license soon after the official CMS release whenever the community can get a GT.M version (which is free in cost and license). Why GT.M was not included by CMS from the start is unknown to this reporter. It should be quite a week. Visits to Linux Medical News have been very high this month.


It looks like the banking industry is getting into the act, according to this article a “medical banking platform” will be created ‘…that will use existing open source/open standards. Where there are gaps in standards, MBProject is sponsoring the creation of a new type of open source standards/components called “mbXML”…’ Another article states: ‘… “We don’t want to displace any effort,” executive director John Casillas says. “We want to enable it. We think the bank is uniquely positioned to provide the connective tissue and they can do it more than any other industry.”…’ My un-schooled, pedestrian opinion is that this seems like PayPal for healthcare. Thanks to Ed Dodds for these links.

U.S. Will Offer Doctors Free Electronic Records System

From today’s NYTimes:
In an unprecedented move, it said it planned to announce that it would give doctors – free of charge – software to computerize their medical practices.

It is to be vista.
What does this mean?
Is there a risk of office vista becoming the new standard?
Clearly it isn’t the only free program but it has uncle sam pushing it in the NYT. Is that enough to make it the frontrunner?

Continue reading

Easy Open Source Practice Management Software

There is a relatively new, open source project on sourceforge called Office Manager – Medical Edition. It was designed to be as easy to install and use. While it has a good deal to go to be as feature rich as many of the other software packages, it is MUCH easier to install and use. It has patient management, inventory management, rudimentary accounting, claims management, HCFA 1500 forms, insurance management, Point of Sale to integrate with insurance billing, scheduling and administration. It works on Linux, of course, but also mac, windows, and pretty much any GUI operating system that can run java. Michael Lee (myself) is the sole author of the program and is looking to find a way to work on the program full time. It was developed on my own time to support a group of doctors. Check it out.

RWJ Foundation: Information Links Grants

Even more grants coming out, this one from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: ‘…InformationLinks: Connecting Public Health with Health Information Exchanges � a new program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation � will fund grants to support the participation of state and local public health agencies in health information exchanges.

* Approximately 20 Grants, $75,000.00-$100,000.00 per grant for a 12-month period

* Deadline for receipt of proposals is September 7, 2005

OpenNHIN Call for Participation

Uversa has decided to reply to the recent ONCHIT RFP regarding an open source prototype implementation of a National Health Information Network. We need volunteers to commit different types of healthcare facilties to receiving and sending secure patient data from this network.
So far the response we have gotten is overwhelming and in order to better facilitate the gathering of Coverpages and Letters of Intent we have decided to create a website for the participants. If you run a medical facility and can reply before saturday at midnight you can help us further the cause of open source in medical IT, and openess in medicine.
Uversa welcomes you to OpenNHIN

Rural HIN Grants Announced

More grant RFP’s. These are for Rural Health Information Networks. The first one is to: ‘‘…Support development of rural health networks. Grant funds are used to support activities that strengthen the organizational capabilities of these networks whose purpose is to overcome the fragmentation and vulnerablility of providers in rural areas… This one is for a Rural Health Information Network as well but is somewhat different: ‘…To provide support to entities that need assistance to plan, organize and develop a health care network because they do not have a significant history of collaboration and are not sufficiently evolved to apply for a three year Rural Health Network Development Grant…’ Both grants are $1 million or more with each award average ranging from $85,000 to $180,000

Open Source Community needs to get Governance

While NHS is going from the top down, the United States is approaching from the bottom up. This is expected and accepted in American politics and public opinion. It’s what works for us and adheres to the capitalist mind.

Things are moving quickly with a survey showing 61% of hospital CFO’S planning to purchase major IT systems wihtin the next 5 years.

Continue reading