Open Source Tools and Applications at AMIA

Seven Open Source projects were featured at a workshop on Open Source software at the annual AMIA Symposium in Chicago, Illinois. Despite the Saturday evening time slot, about 60 conference attendees were treated to some inspiring presentations. Senthil Nachimuthu, M.D., organized the two and a half hour workshop. This year’s AMIA Symposium on Biomedical and Health Informatics features 14 Workshops, 26 full or half day Tutorials, 96 Scientific Sessions, and over 300 poster presentations. The Symposium runs from November 10 to 14.

Presenters and their topics:

  • Senthil Nachimuthu, M.D., from University of Utah, presented an introduction to open source software, an introduction to the presenters, and a walk through Projeny, a Java front-end for the Bayes Net Toolbox.
  • Sarah Knoop and Sondra Renly, from IBM, presented the Open Healthcare Framework project, a vertical effort within the Eclipse Foundation.
  • Cal Collins, from Akaza Research, presented the OpenClinica project, a platform for clinical research.
  • Paul Biondich, M.D., from Regenstrief Institute, presented the OpenMRS (Open Medical Record System) project, a robust EMR platform with a built in clinical concept dictionary, which is experiencing rapid adoption in Africa.
  • Gerald Bortis, from WebReach Inc., presented the Mirth Project, originally an HL7 Integration Engine that now natively incorporates numerous standard data formats and communication protocols and is also spawning dedicated hardware devices.
  • Tom Jones, M.D., from Tolven Healthcare, presented the Tolven healthcare informatics platform, designed to enable secure access to structured data, which includes a clinical data definitions wiki.
  • Will Ross, from Mendocino Informatics, presented the OpenEMPI project, a research and analysis effort to identify and categorize all open source Master Person Index projects.

It is an understatement to say that the quality of the presentations, the extensiveness of the adoption of open source in health care, and the global reach of these projects dramatizes the arrival of serious and enterprise scale open source tools. The only drawback to the workshop format was the lack of time to cover the breakthrough potential represented by the cross cutting nature of of these and other open source projects.

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