Report on the ONC 2017 Technical Interoperability Forum

Last week I attended with my colleague Mike Berry the ONC 2017 Technical Interoperability Forum. This meeting was convened under the 21st Century Cures Act passed by Congress in late 2016. Several hundred participants attended a series of panel presentations and discussions. The forum took place over one-and-a-half-days. The forum covered a variety of topics related to interoperability, including discussion of the business case for interoperability, semantics, national networks, and application programming interfaces (APIs). In many ways the speakers were “the usual suspects” involved in national networks, standards development, and HIE planning and implementation.

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10 Advantages of Open Source for the Enterprise

Selecting technologies means committing to solutions that will support an active, growing business over the long term, so it requires careful consideration and foresight. When an enterprise bets on the wrong horse, the result is often significantly higher development costs and reduced flexibility, both of which can stick around for the long haul. In the past decade, adoption of open source software at the enterprise level has flourished, as more businesses discover the considerable advantages open source solutions hold over their proprietary counterparts, and as the enterprise mentality around open source continues to shift. Enterprises looking to make smart use of open source software will find plenty of great reasons to do so. Here are just some of them.

Only Trump Can Go To Single-Payer

Today, I want to submit to you that only Trump can make single-payer health care happen in this country. Only a billionaire, surrounded by a cabinet of billionaires, representing a party partial to billionaires, can make that hazardous 180 degrees political turn and better the lives of the American people, and perhaps the entire world as a result. Oh, I know it’s too soon to make this observation, but note that both Mr. Nixon and Mr. Begin were deeply resented (to put it mildly) in their times, by the same type of people who find Mr. Trump distasteful today.

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Opioid Epidemic Makes EHRs Essential to Public Health

When public health is threatened by an outbreak of SARS or Zika or avian influenza, widely disseminated information becomes a crucial tool used to curtail the spread of disease. But transmittable diseases are not the lone threats to public health. Other metaphorically pathogenic events—the current opioid epidemic, for example—are more effectively managed by making sure doctors have complete information when evaluating patients and, especially, writing prescriptions.

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How Time-series Databases Help Make Sense of Sensors

Infrastructure environments' needs and demands change every year and systems become more complex and involved. But all this growth is meaningless if we don't understand the infrastructure and what's happening in our environment. This is where monitoring tools and software come in; they give operators and administrators the ability to see problems in their environments and fix them in real time. But what if we want to predict problems before they happen? Collecting metrics and data about our environment gives us a window into how our infrastructure is performing and lets us make predictions based on data. When we know and understand what's happening, we can prevent problems, rather than just fixing them...

7 Mistakes Your Open Source Project is Probably Making

It can be tough to start a new open source project. You have an awesome idea in your head, but it takes work to turn it into a productive, healthy, engaging community. Sadly (as seems to be the case in practically anything), the same mistakes are made over and over again by new projects. Here are some of the most common mistakes open source projects make and my recommendations for avoiding them... Of the thousands of open source projects that kick off, too many get stuck at the outset because of a bunch of discussions on a Slack channel, mailing list, issue, or elsewhere. The discussions bounce around the house, and the scope often grows more and more lavish to incorporate the many, sundry ideas and considerations...

Hard to Communicate with Other Teams? Check Out These Tips

When teams in the same organization—or even across organizational boundaries—start to collaborate, they will most likely realize that not all of their goals align. The IT team, for instance, might not have the same criteria for success as the sales team. Different teams have different benchmarks, even if the teams are part of a larger organization (as in the case of relationships between a developer team and an operations team). But the teams all strive towards the same goal, which is to make the organization successful. And they rely on each other to accomplish that goal. For this reason, learning more about why a team is working on a specific project, not just focusing on how they're involved and what the project is about, can help you foster better relationships across your organization...

Half of the World’s Languages Are Dying. Should We Save Them?

There are currently around 7,000 languages being used today, with one language dying every two weeks. UNESCO says that half of the world's languages may vanish in a century's time. And, in my home country of India, 220 languages have died in the last 50 years and 197 languages are endangered. Open science is advancing scientific research by enabling individuals and organizations to collaborate and exchange knowledge that improves each other’s work. One area that could use this kind of help is native languages around the world...

Is Single-Payer the Right Payer?

As is customary for every administration in recent history, the Trump administration chose to impale itself on the national spear known as health care in America. The consequences so far are precisely as I expected, but one intriguing phenomenon is surprisingly beginning to emerge. People are starting to talk about single-payer. People who are not avowed socialists, people who benefit handsomely from the health care status quo seem to feel a need to address this four hundred pound gorilla, sitting patiently in a corner of our health care situation room. Why?

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How to Use Data from Millions of Open Source Projects

What if we applied the techniques Google applied to index the internet back in 1998 to the world of open source software? That's exactly the thought Andrew Nesbitt had in 2014 which lead to the creation of, an open source project for indexing other open source projects. This month released metadata on over 25 million open source projects. You can download it right now from Zenodo, but what can you do with it? To understand what is contained within this dataset, I'll take a quick look at how it's collected. Everything in begins with package managers. We index project metadata from 33 package managers, filling in gaps from their source repositories where we can. We parse project manifests—a gemfile, package.json, or similar—that includes code from other projects and stores the links between them...