Latest Blog Posts

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 »

What is the Role Of the 'Open Source' Movement in Healthcare?

Every so often, we need to go back and remind ourselves why the open source movement is so important. We need to revisit and ask questions about the role of the open source movement in improving healthcare. How does the non-profit open source movement relate to companies operating in the for-profit marketplace?

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VistA Expo 2011: Oroville Hospital CEO Tells the Story of their Successful VistA EHR Self-Implementation

One of most exciting presentations at the VistaEXPO 2011 conference was given by Robert Wentz, Hospital Administrator and CEO of Oroville Hospital, a regional hospital in the beautiful mountains of Northern California. Oroville Hospital has achieved a whole series of milestones in close partnership with the VistA community. These range from a full implementation of VistA in the hospital and most of its 20 clinics, to the achievement of full meaningful use certification.

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VistA Expo 2011: Conference Report

I have been in In Redmond, Washington for the past two days attending the VistAEXPO 2011 conference. We are midway through the conference and it's time to write some comments. First and foremost I should note that this has been the most productive meeting of the VsitA community that I have attended. The conference, organized by the VistA Expertise Network, has featured a whole range of presentations and discussions from high-level briefings on the work of the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA) to technical presentations on breakthrough enhancements for VistA such as the Enterprise Web Developer (EWD) and the ePrescribing package...

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Hybrid Open Source Software Development & Business Models

Starting in the early 2000s, a number of companies began to release a portion of their product's source code to the open source community, while keeping key parts closed. This allowed them to make claims that their company and products were open source. These products were termed commercial open source or hybrid open source software, to distinguish them from true free and open source software (FOSS). In hybrid open source business models, some of the software products are released using a business-friendly open source license, but some of the special source code add-ons are only available for a fee. There currently appear to be two major forms of the hybrid open source business model...

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Notes on the Future of Health Care in America: 2020-2050

The health care industry will continue to grow in importance, both in the U.S. and around the world. New technologies, in particular, will play a key role in dramatically changing the practice of medicine and improving people's health. In addition to the National Health Information Network (NHIN) in the U.S., global health information exchange networks will be put in place by 2040 to support the continued growth of the global health care industry and to fight global pandemics.

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'Open' Government Health Information Portals for Consumers

There are many free Health Information portals that have been developed and made available online by the U.S. government for consumers to obtain trusted information about a wide range of health related issues, e.g. nutrition, cancer, womens health, etc.  Take a quick look at some of these and share the links to these portals with friends and family.

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