News

Why Cloud for Health IT? Sharing our Experience at careMESH

If you want true, robust security, it is increasingly difficult to argue against cloud, given the advancements and growth in major service providers such as Google, Amazon, or Microsoft. No matter how many security staff members or how much cybersecurity experience you have, the major service providers have more. It's no surprise that across industries, investment in cloud computing, storage and infrastructure are predicted to grow at a rate of 17% annually over the next 3 years.[i]

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Mystery Consent Forms and the Scourge of Surprise Medical Bills

We are, it appears, shocked -- shocked! -- that there are "surprise" bills in healthcare. That is, bills from out-of-network healthcare professionals, even when patients thought they were going to in-network professionals/facilities. The problem is bad enough that even our deeply divided Congress has bipartisan agreement that it should act (although whether it will, of course, remains to be seen). Of course, surprise billing shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows much about healthcare; it is more of a symptom of problems with our healthcare system than a problem itself. Kaiser Health News/NPR deserve much credit for getting more attention for the issue, with their Bill of the Month crowdsourced investigation.

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Clinical Decision Support Strategies for Electronic Case Reporting and its Open Source Connection

A key element of public health surveillance is the reporting of infectious and certain non-infectious conditions to state, local, and tribal public health agencies (PHA) around the United States. Historically, there have been a number of key challenges with the process of case reporting that is pervasive in the United States today. To help overcome some of these barriers, an effort has been underway to move the process of case reporting to electronic. A key component of the emerging electronic care reporting (eCR) strategy is the use of clinical decision support (CDS) to help clinical care organizations determine if a reportable condition is present in a patient's record. Multiple approaches have been identified for this CDS service, including a centralized model being implemented today, and several distributed options which will likely become equally viable. Given the size, diversity, and decentralized nature of healthcare enterprises, it is likely that all three approaches for CDS discussed in this article will be deployed simultaneously.

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Hydroelectricity and Transmission Planning in Chile Use Open Source Geospatial Tools

We were able to leverage a number of open source geospatial tools, such as QGIS, GDAL/OGR, and the PostGIS extension to the PostgreSQL open source relational database, in order to control the quality of the geospatial data at hand. These tools also helped us carry out the types of spatial analysis necessary to determine relationships between the various objects of value and, on the one hand, the potential hydropower projects, and on the other, the possible alternative transmission corridors. The key to hydroelectric capacity planning in Chile is the ability to generate the maximum amount of electricity, given certain restrictions, while assuring a fixed level of interaction with objects of value.

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The State of Open Source in South Korea

Open source software is growing exponentially all around the world, and South Korea is a vital part of that trend. While most South Korean open source projects don't get the international attention that projects from the Apache Foundation, the Linux Foundation, and similar organizations receive, they are making significant contributions to mobility, artificial intelligence, web technologies, and other areas. Samsung may be the best-known South Korean company working in open source, but Naver, Kakao, Coupang, and others are also writing important open source software and maintaining their projects on GitHub.

Ready or Not: New Report on Protecting the Public's Health

The Trust for America's Health (TFAH) released its 2019 edition of what it hopes will be an annual report, Ready or Not: Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism last February. The ground-breaking report warns about key global challenges ahead, like the risk of a flu pandemic; the impact of weather pattern changes due to climate change; the dangers of antimicrobial resistance, and others, and tries to offer advice on how to prepare for them.

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Top 3 Benefits of Company Open Source Programs

Many organizations, from Red Hat to internet-scale giants like Google and Facebook, have established open source programs (OSPO). The TODO Group, a network of open source program managers, recently performed the first annual survey of corporate open source programs, and it revealed some interesting findings on the actual benefits of open source programs. According to the survey, the top three benefits of managing an open source program are: Awareness of open source usage/dependencies, increased developer agility/speed, better and faster license compliance.

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Putting Healthcare on a Platform

People in healthcare have been speculating for years about who or what will be the "Uber of healthcare." Uber shocked the transportation industry with its peer-to-peer business model, slick technologies, and almost blithe disregard for numerous regulations that might have dampened its model. Certainly, many thought, the creaky, inefficient healthcare system was vulnerable to disruption from a similar outsider, perhaps even Uber itself (UberHealth, after all).So I found it amusing that it turns out that Uber has aspirations itself; it wants to Amazon...Healthcare wants to be more like Uber. Uber wants to be more like Amazon. Amazon wants to be part of healthcare. Someone, somewhere, sometime will somehow break that circle and healthcare will have the platform(s) it needs. We're waiting.

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12 Open Source Tools for Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing (NLP), the technology that powers all the chatbots, voice assistants, predictive text, and other speech/text applications that permeate our lives, has evolved significantly in the last few years. There are a wide variety of open source NLP tools out there, so I decided to survey the landscape to help you plan your next voice- or text-based application. For this review, I focused on tools that use languages I'm familiar with, even though I'm not familiar with all the tools. (I didn't find a great selection of tools in the languages I'm not familiar with anyway.) That said, I excluded tools in three languages I am familiar with, for various reasons.

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ONC Gets It Mostly Right with TEFCA 2.0

On April 17, 2019 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released the second draft of its Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) for comment. The initial version was released more than a year ago in January 2018 (see my original blog). As before, this is in response to a requirement imposed by Congress in the 21 Century Cures Act. After a somewhat lengthy (but well written) introduction, the document contains three parts (compared to just two parts the first time around)...

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