The Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine recently released a special edition of the Journal of Digital Imaging focused on
open source. While they are published in Springer, all the articles on major open source packages in imaging informatics are open access. SIIM saw it fitting that open source articles shouldn’t be locked into a proprietary publisher.
The recipients of the 2007 Linux Medical News Freedom Award are:
Domestic category: Co-recipients
- Web Reach, Inc. Mirth Project.
- WorldVistA for WorldVistA EHR CCHIT Certification.
This years class of nominees for the 2007 Linux Medical Freedom Award are a prestigious group indeed. The panel of judges has a difficult task ahead of it. The nominees are as follows:
. Herman Tolentino, MD Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS)
. Web Reach, Inc. Mirth Project.
. Gerry Douglas, MD Malawi RHIO.
. Paul G. Biondich, MD, MS Regenstreif Institute for OpenMRS project.
. WorldVistA for WorldVistA EHR CCHIT Certification.
Modern Healthcare’s Joseph Conn has an interview about the Harris County Health Information (HCHIC) in Houston putting on an inaugural fundraiser at St. Arnold’s Brewery for a city-wide EHR: ‘After hearing a talk by Stephen Foreman, a Robert Morris associate professor of healthcare administration and economics, Valdes said he gained the “intellectual firepower to do this now.”
Curtis Poe on oreillynet.com has an important opinion piece in which he argues: “…that any software with substantial risk to harm your life or liberty must be open source. I�m not saying that it should be free or that manufacturers should not be allowed protections, but the protection of the people must come first. Certainly we could come up with schemes for various systems which might purport to thoroughly test them without opening up the code, but there are too many systems and too many parameters for us to do this safely on a case-by-case basis…” Editor’s note: Electronic Medical Record falls firmly in this category.
Recent conversations with knowledgeable colleagues has recently reached a point where it is difficult to have a rational conversation about any aspect of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software without having to invoke an entire other discipline to speak about it. As well, the lines of demarcation between EMR software engineering, law, licensing, economics, politics and public policy has now become so intertwined that it is becoming nearly impossible to tell where one ends and another begins. A nexus may have formed in which these are inextricably linked.
Sit on the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) task force committee, write editorials, participate in government. These activities are of supreme importance for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in medicine to succeed. If FOSS advocates are not present or do not speak up at the table when decisions are being made, guess what direction the decisions will go? The power of advocacy works only when exercised.
Remarkably few decision makers and leaders in healthcare know about or understand Free and Open Source licensed Electronic Medical Record software and how it is vastly superior to proprietary licensed EMR software. If FOSS advocates worldwide are not sitting at the decision table the decisions will inevitably go against FOSS EMR’s and for continuance of an unacceptable status-quo.
Once upon a time there was a prosperous and entrepreneurial port city named EMR. EMR had many ships and many ship owners who ferried lots of people to the healing spas that existed in nearby mountains. Unfortunately for the ships and passengers, the harbor was quite rocky and treacherous. Shipwrecks were common with large and grievous losses of life. Many of the entrepreneurs in the city thought that EMR could benefit from a modern marvel called a lighthouse.
Stark law exceptions were intended to remove barriers to Health IT adoption, allowing hospitals to pay for hardware and software for Physicians. In part: “The items and services must consist of hardware, software, or information technology and training services that are necessary and used solely to receive and transmit e-prescription information.” How is this going to shake out in reality?
Ace reporter Shirley, my Dachsund, recently returned from a vacation in England with many things to report. She unloaded her bags, took off her sunglasses and settled in on the comfortable couch. “There rumors are that ‘the majors’ are talking about FOSS’ing their code.” she said with her slight German accent.
The ‘majors’ as she said it are the larger proprietary electronic medical record companies. Only none of them are really major since there are hundreds of competitors that are stuck at approximately 20-30% market share. “Tell me more” I replied.