Latest Blog Posts

Is Faxing the Solution to the Health IT Usability and Interoperability Crisis?

The Healthcare industry is in profound crisis as the HITECH Act of 2009 led medical facilities across the United States to spend in excess of $3 trillion on the purchase and implementation of expensive electronic health records (EHRs) under the Meaningful Use program. Yet, the most fundamental goals of electronic records Nirvana that were promised have not been achieved. For multiple reasons, EHRs have turned out to lack usability and be non-interoperable. In fact, most EHR vendors are engaged in what is commonly called “data blocking.” In most cases physicians are unable to obtain medical records for the patients they are seeing and patients have a hard time getting a hold of their own medical records. That means that the medical records are not available at the most important moment, the caregiver/patient encounter, and are not available to the patients themselves and their family members.

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FDA Issues RFQ for Large Scale EHR Study - Wants to Leverage VA's Open Source VistA EHR and Database for Research

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday issued a Request for Quotation (RFQ) for a large-scale electronic health record (EHR) system. This RFQ is very important as the objective is to develop a platform to support a critical project by the FDA's Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics (DBB) "to conduct research to assess the safety and surveillance of FDA regulated products through the FDA adverse event reporting systems..." Adverse drug reactions are one of the leading causes of death in the US, thus finding which drugs cause negative interactions is of vital importance. The project requires "use of the large electronic medical record (EMR) system..." The project is going to leverage the largest, most comprehensive, and clinically relevant medical records database, that of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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Application Deadline to Host OpenMRS 2018 Annual Implementers Meet Coming Up

The deadline to apply to host the 2018 International OpenMRS Implementers conference is coming up on April 30 [updated]. Nations that want to host the meeting need to answer the detailed questionnaire by that time. For those Open Health News readers who have missed one of the greatest health IT stories of the decade, the Government of Uganda hosted the 2016 OpenMRS meeting in their capital city of Kampala. The conference was such an extraordinary success that a large number of other national governments volunteered to host the 2017 Implementer's conference. There are currently close to 40 countries around the world where OpenMRS is being implemented throughout the county in large-scale deployments.

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Key exhibitor booths at HIMSS18 for open solutions, collaboration, and interoperability

The annual gargantuan HIMSS conference is back at Las Vegas with over 40,000 participants, over a thousand exhibitors, and more than 600 presentations. As we saw last year in Orlando, more than half of the conference presentations are focused on applications based on open source such as FHIR and Blockchain, and a great emphasis on open solutions for interoperability. With so many presentations and exhibits, it is impossible to provide a full overview. Below are a few of some of the most interesting exhibits of open solutions this year.

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OSEHRA To Hold Innovation Webinar on Open Source Clinical Quality Tools

OSEHRA is going to be holding a special one-hour Innovation Webinar tomorrow as part of the National Health IT Week. The focus will be on open source applications and tools that are gaining traction for clinical quality measures. Well known and very mature is popHealth. The webinar participants will discuss the latest upgrades in version 5.0 of the software. They will also present a new entrant into the field. That would be the Cedar project, an open source tool for testing the strength of Electronic Clinical Quality Measure (eCQM) collection systems that receive Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) files.

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Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Draw the Line - Time for the US to Embrace Open Source Emergency and Disaster Response

For nearly 20 years now the global open source community and applications have been a keystone to disaster relief efforts around the world. The enormous number of disaster relief applications and knowledge that has been developed through all these years, should, and needs to be leveraged in the current crisis. For that reason, Open Health News is starting a series of articles to highlight some of the most important solutions. A substantial portion the open source applications for emergency and disaster response that exist are actually already on the news website in the form of articles and resource pages.

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Community Health Network in Houston Leverages Open Source Tech to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Undaunted by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, the Stephen F. Austin Community Health Network (SFA) responded to the crisis by leveraging open source technology to reach out to their patients and victims of the hurricane in areas of Texas that are virtually inaccessible. The Health Network, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) covering Brazoria County, is one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey and currently recovering. Using an advanced cloud-based version of the OpenEMR software, the SFA Community Health Network has been able to treat patients in clinics physically unreachable by their medical providers.

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OpenMRS Community Announces Malawi will be the Host Country for OMRS17

OpenMRS Global Events Manager Christine Gichuki announced yesterday that Malawi has been chosen as the host country for the OpenMRS 2017 implemeters meeting (OMRS17). This is a major milestone for the OpenMRS project. OMRS16 was hosted by the government of Uganda last year. The conference was a major success as I decribed in a presentation at the recent OSEHRA 2017 meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. This will be the second OMRS meeting that is hosted the by a national goverment. The incredibly successful meeting in Uganda is described in this article.

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OSEHRA Update on VistA /eHMP Microsoft Azure Cloud Project

OSEHRA will be holding a webinar on Tuesday, May 16, to provide an update and discussion of the status of the development of a cloud-based version of VistA and eHMP running on Microsoft Azure. The project is sponsored by Microsoft and was announced two months ago in a statement by Don Hewitt, the Vice President of Business Operations of OSEHRA. Hewitt writes: One of our newest members, Microsoft Corporation, is sponsoring an open source project group to implement a proof of concept for VistA in the cloud...

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HHS IDEA Lab Hosting Innovation Day in DC on May 15

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is holding an Innovation Day on Monday, May 15th at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, D.C. The day will feature presentations from teams across HHS who are using open source, collaborative, and entrepreneurial methods like design thinking and lean startup to improve how their office or agency delivers on the HHS mission. The day will also feature a panel on deploying creative thinking to improve work in government, and innovative speakers from government and the private sector.

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Open Source Guide to HIMSS17

The HIMSS17 Conference taking place in Orlando, FL, is clearly the turning point for open source in the healthcare information technology industry. Althought the label "open source" is barely mentioned in the program, the fact is the majority of the presentations at the conference are either based directly on open source technologies, or open health concepts. These include the large number of presentations on interoperability, FHIR, and the open/modular Medicaid IT revolution.

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Obama and Biden Blast EHR Vendors for Data Blocking

As they are winding their terms in office, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden dropped a stink bomb on the health IT industry. Speaking at different events on Friday, January 9th, the President and Vice President both criticized proprietary electronic health record (EHR) vendors as the primary obstacle to the success of their administration’s health care strategy. This is the highest level acknowledgement so far of the serious impact that “lock-in” EHR software vendors are having on America’s medical infrastructure and the ability of physicians to provide medical care.

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Andrew Slavitt and the Opportunity Offered by Open Medicaid IT

As we reported in the December 15 issue of OpenMedicaidIT News, Andrew Slavitt, Acting Administrator of CMS, has openly discussed the opportunity offered by CMS' open Medicaid IT strategy in multiple blog posts and meetings. We have reported on this opportunity in an article titled CMS To Invest $5+ Billion a Year in Open Source and Cloud-based IT Infrastructure for Medicaid and recently started a newsletter provide our readers with news of the opportunities for tech companies as they emerge. We reprint here the article from the newsletter presenting that opportunity in Slavitt’s own words.

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OSEHRA to Launch Workgroup to Develop Strategy for Open Health Community

Major developments in open source health information technology are opening all kinds of opportunities for the members of the OSEHRA community. These developments include the open source strategy embraced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to modernize the state Medicaid IT infrastructure, the rapid adoption of open source APIs, including Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), and the emergence of blockchain technology and middleware solutions to fix the interoperability crisis.

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OSEHRA to Hold Community Calls to Discuss VA Digital Health Platform [Updated]

OSEHRA is holding a community call today and next Thursday, Sept. 29, with the open health community to discuss the response of the open source community to the recently release RFI by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a "digital health platform." Notice with details from Seong K. Mun below..."According to the RFI (which is attached to this message), VHA "desires a Next Generation Digital Health Platform that is integrated, future-proof and optimizes the cost of operations. To achieve these goals, VA is considering establish an interoperable digital health platform that leads to Easier Access to Care for the Veteran, Better Outcomes for the Veteran and more efficient operations for the VHA"

OSEHRA Community Responds to the Federal Government's Proposed Open Source Policy

The OSEHRA community today submitted a response to the "Draft Open Source Policy for Federal Agencies" released by the White House on March 10. The policy was open for comments through today. This is a major milestone for the OSEHRA community as well as the open source community as a whole. Currently the US Government spends nearly a hundred billion dollars a year on software purchased from the private sector or procured from government contractors. Most of this software acquisition ends up in failure. President Barack Obama has made it a priority to shift technology acquisition policies to solve this problem and restore technology innovation by embracing open source.

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OSEHRA Issues Call for Abstract Submissions for 2016 Conference

OSEHRA will be holding its annual Summit June 27 through June 29 in Bethesda, Maryland. Over the past several years the OSEHRA Summit has become the leading confernce for the VistA community as well as the Open HealthIT community. This year the conference will be expanding with a half-day focused on Open Health IT presentations.  The 2016 OSEHRA Open Source Summit Program Committee invites abstract submissions for presentations, roundtables, and posters by March 8, 2016.

INASP Launches Open Access Week Competition 2015

INASP has launched its Open Access Week Competition for 2015. The competition is open to representatives of institutions and organizations from INASP partner or network countries. Open Access Week, a global event now entering its seventh year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to learn more about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in Open Access developments. For more information, see OpenAccessWeek.org.

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Open Health News Continues To Grow-Visitors Cross the 375,000 Mark

We have been very busy lately and did not have time this year to write a recap of major events related to our news web site. Well, a bit late, we start here with a review of our traffic figures. Traffic to the website continues to grow and we are now approaching 20,000 unique visitors per month. As the table shows below, the total number of unique visitors since we launched the site nearly four years ago has surpassed 375,000 and the total number of Page Views has broken the 8 million mark.

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OSEHRA Holds Code Alignment Workshop-Webinar Report 11/21

OSEHRA has been holding a "Code Alignment Workshop" in Oakland, CA that has brought together leading corporate members to work out how they can collaborate on a core verion of the open source VistA EHR...More details in the note below and in an online briefing on the meeting tomorrow at 08:30 AM Pacific Time. Read More »

OSEHRA Calls for Comments to VA Open Source Policy

Just got an email from Kris Prendergast, community organizer for the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance (OSEHRA) calling on the community to provide input to the open source strategy for the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA, which developed the VistA EHR, widely recognized as the world's best hospital-based EHR, is seeking comments to their next generation IT contract. They are specifically requesting comments and suggestions to their open source strategy. This strategy will be discussed in great detail at the OSEHRA conference next week. Read More »

HANDI Health Apps Looking for Workshop Speakers/Panelists

Just got an email from Jill Riley from HANDI Health calling for speakers and panelists for their upcoming conference on November 4th and 5th in Birmingham, UK. HANDI Health is a non-profit organization focused on the development of open source health IT solutions. They have had a series of very successful conferences and workshops and many senior members of UK's National Health System believe that HANDI has contributed more usable code than what they got from the $19.6 billion failure of their previous Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) effort. Read More »

Opensource.com Publishes 18 Interviews with Speakers of the Upcoming OSCON Conference

For those of you who have not noticed yet, the folks at Opensource.com just completed the publication of an entire series of interviews with speakers at the upcoming O/Reilly OSCON conference. This conference is one of the most important and interesting open source conferences of the year and the wide variety of interviews conducted which show the depth and breadth of the conference topics. `

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Clinovo Is Looking for a Writer/Evangelist

I heard from Clinovo's Olivier Roth a few days ago. He said that Clinovo is looking for a writer who can help them write articles and white papers about their open source clinical research solutions and their implementations. Clinovo is a Clinical Research Organization (CRO) that partners with life science companies to streamline their clinical trials. Clinovo is committed to open source solutions and open innovation. This is discussed in detail in a terrific interview with their CTO Marc Desgrousilliers who is managing the development of ClinCapture, their open source Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system. In this interview, he tells us more about why healthcare needs open source and why it is the future of clinical trials. Read More »

Pistoia Alliance Wins Bio-IT World Grand Prize-Continues Innovation Mission

I received an email newsletter this morning from the Pistoia Alliance and it was so full of information and updates that I decided to post the entire newsletter as an article. A note on the Pistoia Alliance is long overdue. I had meant to write an article on the Alliance back in April after the 2014 Bio-IT World conference organizers announced that Pistoia's HELM project had been chosen as one of the Grand prize winners. Read More »