New Journal: Source Code for Biology and Medicine

Several sources have reported on the upcoming formation of a new Journal: Source Code for Biology and Medicine. From the website announcement: ‘Source Code for Biology and Medicine is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal soon to be launched by BioMed Central.

Source Code for Biology and Medicine will encompass all aspects of workflow for information systems, decision support systems, client user networks, database management, and data mining.

Source Code for Biology and Medicine aims to publish source code for distribution and use in the public domain in order to advance biological and medical research. Through this dissemination, it may be possible to shorten the time required for solving certain computational problems for which there is limited source code availability or resources…’ It also says it will be a source code repository. I’m not sure how or if this will work with

IBM, Bird Flu, Open Source

IBM Press release says that in their work to help fight pandemics, such as Bird Flu, elements of their software technology will be made Open Source.

From the release:

“Central to the effort will be the use of advanced software technologies, elements of which IBM intends to contribute to the open-source community, that are designed to help share information on disease outbreaks electronically and use it to predict how diseases will spread.

Among the technologies that will be used is a software framework IBM developed to allow electronic health information to be more easily shared and mined for trends, such as the outbreak of disease.”

Interesting to see what those element are.

Thanks BoingBoing

MedSphere is really open source.

Today George Timson (author of FileMan) clarified that Medspheres OpenVistA is open source contrary to the information found in the recent Fortune Magazine VistA Article, already mentioned here. From the post:
“For those interested, I just want to note that Medsphere’s product is NOT proprietary. (“OpenVista” would not be a very appropriate name for a proprietary product!) We’ve installed CUSTOMIZED versions of Vista at several hospitals, and these customized suites of software include proprietary components from a few third-party vendors like Sea Island Systems and Informatix Laboratories Corporation. The basic CPS/VistA product we install and support is open source.

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13th VistA Community Conference

Joseph DalMolin writes on the Openhealth list: “WorldVistA is delighted to announce the 13th VistA Community Conference, to be held from Thursday, June 29th to Sunday, July 2nd, 2006 at Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The theme for this meeting is: ´┐ŻBuilding sustainable, global, collaborative development of VistA´┐Ż, exploring the interrelated issues of:” Read on for more information. Calendar and registration information here.

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GT.M V5.0-000D Released

GT.M is a GNU GPL licensed MUMPS compiler capable of compiling the Veterans Administration VistA software. In a nutshell, this release has bug fixes and enables the use of gcc optimization flags for better performance. K.S. Bhaskar announced on the hardhats list: ‘GT.M V5.0-000D is available at Source Forge ( This release provides timely fixes to several bugs, as noted in the release notes on the GT.M
user documentation page (’

In addition to bug fixes, GT.M source code was modified to use ANSI C stdargs.h style of variable argument list parameter passing instead of the earlier K&R C varargs.h style. This change enabled the use of optimizer flags with the gcc C compiler, reducing CPU usage by GT.M applications on the x86 GNU/Linux platform. The change is internal to GT.M and has no functional or operational impact.

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New EC Health Portal

eHealth News EU has announcing that European Commission launches new Health Portal. The launch event took place in Malaga, Spain, within the Commission-sponsored “eHealth” conference. The Health-EU Portal is a gateway to simple and sound information on 47 topics that range from babies’ health to bio-terrorism, and from infectious diseases to health insurance.

One of the main goals of the Portal is to help people take responsibility for and improve their own health. It provides information on a wide range of health concerns. Forty-seven topics are divided into six thematic areas:

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What to Call the OpenEMR/ClearHealth/FreeMed/MirrorMed Universe?

Linux Apache MySQL PHP server setups are so common that they have their own designation, collectively called ‘LAMP’ applications. It seems that in the United States, the hotbeds of FOSS Electronic Medical Records (EMR)’s activity are falling into two universes: that based upon the VA’s VistA and a consortium of groups using a combination of OpenEMR, ClearHealth, FreeMed, FreeB and MirrorMed which also happen to be LAMP applications. Might there be a term currently to collectively call the latter? Could this apparently thriving community invent one?

ICU for RHIO’s?

Health Data Management is reporting that Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) are not working: ‘…information technologies being used in the projects to exchange health data among disparate computer networks may not be compatible with each other…Most state programs have yet to actively engage a wide spectrum of stakeholders and actually begin exchanging clinical data, according to the report…’ This was predicted six months ago in a Linux Medical News editorial entitled: “RHIO’s and the Illusion of Health IT Success” with such choice lines as: ‘…RHIO’s makes disparate, local healthcare entities into mini-standards organizations. This is something they are almost always ill-prepared to do. RHIO’s will make strategic decisions (if they are able to make decisions at all) based on local politics, local needs and whatever information they can muster at the moment. Vulnerability to a good sales pitch at the time of decision can ensure a sub-optimal solution…’

Content Management Systems Review Paper

Web Content Management Systems (CMS) can make your life easier. Here’s a white-paper discussing Free and Open Source CMS’s. As well, the CMS Matrix website seems to be a useful tool. Linux Medical News has been in the Python/ZOPE universe since its inception and also recommends the incomparable Plone. However, there are also many noteworthy LAMP based ones as well like Drupal and Joomla.