Latest Blog Posts

'Open' Health IT Architecture

I have had some major issues with IT Architects over the years and the many prolific and useless dissertations they produce that are usually of little real value or practical use to senior IT managers responsible for day-to-day operations.  That does not mean that I don't appreciate the need for a good, practical IT architectural blueprint or roadmap that will help one make better decisions about the technology to acquire and implement to best meet the operational business needs of the organization for the future. What follows is a high level management introduction to 'Open' Health IT Architecture for those who are new to this whole arena. Read More »

'Open' Health IT Standards

Mention standards and my eyes usually start to glaze over. However, standards can be exciting and do matter, especially to businesses, because they may have to ensure that their products interoperate with the dominant industry standards if they are to succeed. Where standards don't exist, a particular business may try to ensure the proprietary specifications they have been using to develop their own products become the industry standard that others must follow. This will give them an edge or head-start on their competitors. However, the optimum approach for both consumers and industry as a whole is for a truly collaborative and set of 'open standards' to emerge that all companies must adhere to. Read More »

European Union eHealth Task Force Report

The European Union eHealth Task Force just released a report entitled "Redesigning Health in Europe for 2020".   This is an excellent and concise report on changes the EU nations need to make to radically improve the way these countries and their citizens manage and receive health care. The report focuses on how to achieve a vision of affordable, less intrusive and more personalized care. Their vision calls on the use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) and 'open' access to healthcare data to increase the quality of life and improve mortality rates for its citizens.

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Tablet Computers, Open Source, & Healthcare

The tablet market has experienced rapid growth over the last two years. It has outpaced other computer devices at a similar point in their lifecycle.  In fact, shipments of tablet computer devices may exceed 350 million units by 2016 according to various estimates from various  industry experts. The medical community, in particular, has taken to tablets in droves over the past year and sales show no signs of slowing.  The reason is that clinicians have found tablet computer devices to be a user-friendly product that readily fits into their clinical business practices.  Read More »

U.N. E-Gov Survey 2012: E-Government for the People

According to the latest E-Government survey by the United Nations, progress in online service delivery continues in most countries around the world. The U.N. E-Gov Survey 2012 found that many countries have put in place e-government initiatives and information and communication technologies (ICT) applications for the people to further enhance public sector efficiencies and streamline governance systems to support sustainable development. Among the e-government leaders, innovative technology solutions have gained special recognition as the means to revitalize lagging economic and social sectors. Read More »

Munnecke to Reveal the Secrets to the Success of VistA

Our readers will have a unique and extraordinary opportunity tomorrow, May 10th, to participate in a webinar where Tom Munnecke, one of the pioneers of VistA and one of the world's leading experts in health information technology, will discuss the key factors that led to the success of the VA's VistA. Today VistA is recognized as the world's best hospital-based EHR. 

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Loosening the rules for consumer access to OTC drugs

Some naysayers from the drug industry are strenuously objecting to a Food & Drug Administration (FDA) proposal that could make more prescription-only drugs — such as those to treat asthma, migraines, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol — more accessible without having to schedule a doctors appointment. “Medicine needs to take medical care to where the patients are,” Janet Woodcock, Director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, testified at a hearing in March. See Internal Medicine News. Read More »

Open Source Hardware in Healthcare?

First there was open source software. Then came open standards, open architecture, open access, open data, open knowledge, open communities… and now we have open source hardware.  Open source hardware is just one more component of the ever growing 'open source' culture movement. Here's a brief introduction to the topic. Read More »

Open Source & QR Codes in Healthcare

QR Codes have been around for a while, but are just now really starting to take hold in healthcare. This is just one more short blog about this technology and its potential uses. Read More »

The Open Source Commandments from the Tech Broiler Blog

This is a blog about a blog, which may seem a bit strange. However, the subject fits the season, so....

I recommend you read the latest Tech Broiler Blog on ZDNet from Jason Perlow & Scott Raymond providing suggestions for Open Source Commandments that future generations of technologists and technology companies wishing to pursue open source community activities might want to follow. Read More »

Let's all start examining & using available 'Open Data' sources

'Big Data' or 'Open Data' is garnering a lot of attention lately. This is a short followup to a previous blog entitled "Open Data & Healthcare" published last month.

The Office of Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has provided access to the Women's Health Assessment Toolkit (WHAT) and associated 'open' database on their web site at http://www.healthstatus2020.com/owh/what/OWH_FIPS__search.asp

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"Best of Breed" or "Mangy Mutt?"

Throughout my career, I've sat through innumberable sales presentations showing some piece of software that is the greatest thing since sliced bread, according to the salesman.  All it takes is a "bit of integration" to make it work with everything else. The theory is, if we just collect all these "best of breed" applications and "do a bit of integration" we will end up with information systems nirvana. 

Now, imagine trying to build the world's best car using an engine from a Corvette, seats from a Rolls Royce, and the hybrid electric system from a Prius.  Surely, this must produce the world's fastest, most comfortable, most fuel-efficient car.  All it takes is a bit of integration, or so folks think.

But something is missing in this approach.  And that is an overall perspective - what Frederick Brooks calls the "conceptual integrity" of a design...

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'Open Data' & Healthcare

Even as the Open Data and Open Access movements gain momentum, there are still many organizations fighting to reverse the process, e.g. for-profit publishing houses and certain not-for-profit education and research organizations that depend on fees charged to access the data to fund their operations. 

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Growing Examples of 'Open Access' in Healthcare

Open Access can be defined as the practice of providing unrestricted access to journal articles, books, and other literature via the Internet. These materials are generally made available to researchers and other readers at no cost, free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.

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eCollaboration Forum SOLD OUT-Live Webinar Available

Well guys, just as I warned, the eCollaboration Forum at the HIMSS12 conference has sold out. But don't despair, the folks at the Collaborative Health Consortium and HIMSS are providing a live webinar connection. In addition, Leonard Kish has made the full agenda available in an easy to use format in his blog. As we discussed in this news item, this Forum promises to be a watershed event for the HIMSS conferece as it presents the participants for the first time a clear and comprehensive of how platforms and ecosystems can work in the health IT field. 

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OHNews Sails Past the 16,000 Unique Visitor Mark

A quick note to our readers. I have been meaning to provide an update on the status of our web site for some time. It has been well under a years since Peter Groen and I launche the web site and the number of visitors have exceeded all our expectations. We through we'd be lucky if we had 10,000 by December. Yet we ended the year with nearly 13,000 unique visitors. I was going to write about that and then it got busy and now we are up to 16,550. Wow!

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Observations on 'Open Access', Health Industry Reports, & 2012 Predictions

I always look forward to the summary of findings in the latest research reports about Health IT systems from Gartner, Forrester, Chilmark, and others. They do great work, but I have to be satisfied with the summaries because I just can't afford to buy the complete reports for $3000-$5000. Like so many individuals and organizations around the world, I have to rely on the release of free and 'open access' reports. Links to examples of these can be found on Open Health News (OHN).

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Welcome to Notes from the Underground Railroad

The backstory to this remarkable discovery is amazing.  Far from the top-down bureaucracy, beltway bandits, and cozy dinners with lobbyists, that folks normally associate with Washington,  this discovery was actually a cascade of events trigger from the bottom of the organization chart.  Today, this system is known as the VA's VistA electronic health record system.  About half of the electronic medical record systems in operation in the US today use this system.

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'Open Access' & Health Information

For a long time, the 'Open Access' movement has primarily campaigned for free and unrestricted access to scholarly information and research articles via the Internet. However, as the movement has continued to spread and pick up momentum, it has shifted its focus to also now include books, monographs, and other media.

Instead of publishers using copyright to restrict access and use of information, new open access licenses now allow authors to retain ownership of their works and grant the public the right to access and creatively reuse their works. New licences, such as those developed by Creative Commons, are now used by many open access publishers like the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMed Central (BMC).

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Are Open Source Mega-Companies on the Horizon?

Senior executives and investors, pay attention. Hundreds of major open source companies have been established and are now succeeding in the 'Open Source' & 'Open Health' marketplace.  Think Red Hat, Clear Health, KitWare, MedSphere, Black Duck, Mirth, Alfresco, Canonical, Open Dental, Indivica, and many more. Read More »

Open Health News Most Popular 'Open' Health IT Systems in 2011

Check out the most popular 'open source' or 'public domain' Health IT systems listed under the Resources Section on Open Health News (OHN), according to our readers. They are ranked by the number of people viewing the software product during 2011, starting with the most visited ones.

Ranking #1-10
VistA    [VA VistA, OpenVistA, vxVistA, WorldVistA, OSEHRA, etc.]
OSCAR
Kitware    [ITK, VTK, Paraview, etc.]
OpenEMR Read More »

Most Popular Open Health News (OHN) Blogs in 2011

Check out the most popular Blogs on Open Health News (OHN) in 2011. They are ranked by number of people reading the blog, starting with the most read ones.

Ranking #1-10

'Open Source' Virtual Reality (VR) Solutions

“In my day, we didn't have virtual reality.  If a one-eyed razorback barbarian warrior was chasing you with an ax, you just had to hope you could outrun him.”  – Anonymous

Virtual reality (VR) is a multi-disciplinary field of computing technology, that emerged from research on three-dimensional interactive graphics and pilot/vehicle simulations in the 1960's and 1970's.  Back then, VR helmets were too heavy and cumbersome, computers were too slow, and touch/feedback systems were still in their infancy. However, technology has changed dramatically over the past 40 years. Read More »

A Brief History of 'Open Source' Software in Modern Times

The 'spirit' of open source was in existence many millennium before the term officially emerged toward the end of the 20th century. In 'ancient' times, our ancestors shared knowledge about hunting, farming, cooking, herbal treatments, and many other topics and skills needed to survive. In 'modern' times, collaboration and sharing has taken on a whole new meaning, especially as it relates to the topic of free and open source software (FOSS). What follows is a brief history and timeline of 'Open Source' activities in modern times to help people new to the subject to better understand what has been happening in this arena over the past 50 years. Read More »

What is the Role of the 'Open Source' Movement in Society Today?

We are in the process of transitioning from the Industrial Age of the past century into the Information Age of the 21st century.  Many acknowledge this but don't really grasped what it means. We are moving from the 'closed' protective systems that worked well in the Industrial Age to the new, more effective 'open' systems approach that is the hallmark of the Information Age. Read More »