The Future Is Open

OSEHRA 2019 Summit in Washington to Examine Next Steps for Open Health

The Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance (OSEHRA) will be holding its 8th Annual Open Source Summit at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The theme of this year's two-day Summit is "Open SaaS - Open Source in the Cloud," this year's two-day Summit will showcase leading-edge, open source initiatives and highlight the increasing level of public-private partnership in major programs and agencies. Open source software has become key to both implementation and interoperability as more and more programs opt for cloud-based solutions and software-as-a-service delivery models. This Summit will address ways to optimize open source utilization and community involvement in this new playing field.

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Fax Technologies Take Center Stage at HIMSS19 Exhibition

One of the most surprising developments at HIMSS19 is the large number of companies exhibiting their Fax Technologies. Long derided by reporters, health IT consultants, and EHR vendors, fax technologies have been growing in leaps and bounds while EHRs continue to fail to deliver interoperability. Just a couple of years ago faxes were used in around 75% of medical records exchanges. Latest numbers indicate that faxes are now used to exchange more than 85% of medical records. Most people would react in horror to such figures. How could physicians and medical personnel rely on antiquated paper technologies like faxes? The real story to be found on the exhibit floor at the HIMSS 2019 conference is that what we are seeing is a rapid transition to digital fax technologies and platforms. And this transition is taking place because physicians and medical staff have figured out they work!

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Open Health Guide to HIMSS19

The annual gargantuan HIMSS conference is back in Orlando with over 45,000 participants from more than 90 countries. There will be more than 1,300 vendors at the exhibit floor and more than 300 educational sessions. As with the last several conferences, the focus on open source as the key underlying technologies of health information technologies continues to increase. In previous conferences, we have seen the rise of open source technologies, in particular, those related to interoperability such as FHIR and Blockchain. A large number of sessions at HIMSS19 will be focused on another set of technologies powered largely by open source software and design principles such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing.

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HIMSS19: Open Source Software for Disaster Preparedness and Response

Although not officially listed as a track at the HIMSS19 conference, there are a series of very important presentations on the use of open source software for disaster preparedness and response. This is a critical topic that we have covered extensively in Open Health News. As we detailed in this article, there was a major failure in being able to provide victims of Hurricane Harvey, as well as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria with access to their medical records. Few emergency medical responders could access their records either. The two success stories that came out of the hurricanes were two open source electronic health record (EHR) systems, OpenEMR and the VA's open source VistA EHR.

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CES 2019 In Vegas to Feature Patient-Centric Open Health IT Innovations

CES is the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years - the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. This year's conference has a health and wellness track as well as many health IT vendors in the exhibit. One of the most significant announcements will be the release of iBlueButton 8 by Humetrix. Blue Button is one of the core elements of the White House open source health IT strategy that we wrote about here. Humetrix has developed a mobile health platform and the latest version will be unveiled at the conference.

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OpenMRS and the Kenya Health Informatics Association Issue Invitation to Implementers Conference in Kenya

OpenMRS and the Kenya Health Informatics Association have issued an invitation to the OpenMRS Implementers Conference in Kenya. The conference will take place from December 4th to the 8th in in Nairobi, Kenya. The invitation was issued by Paul Biondich, the Executive Director of OpenMRS, and Steven Wanyee, Executive Secretary General, of the Kenya Health Informatics Association (KeHIA). The OpenMRS conference will be held back to back with the HELINA scientific conference which begins on December 3rd.This is the 12th OpenMRS Implementers’ conference, the 6th in Africa and the 2nd to be held in Kenya. OpenMRS Implementers’ Conferences are a way to bring health care professionals and OpenMRS implementers together to collaborate, share implementation experiences and discover new ways to improve OpenMRS.

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OSEHRA to Hold Kick-Off Meeting for VistA Internationalization Project

OSEHRA Chairman Seong K. Mun will be holding a kick-off meeting for the recently announced VistA Internationalization project called Plan VI...This is an important project as the open source VistA electronic health record is being adopted internationally at a rapid pace. There are large numbers of VistA deployments in Jordan and India, and great interest in South Korea, Japan, and China. The Internationalization project should accelerate the international adoption of the EHR, ranked as the best hospital-based EHR in the world.

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Tech Giants Back White House Open Source Health IT Initiative

Six major technology companies have thrown their support behind the White House's initiative to use an open source, collaborative, approach to accelerate the progress of health data standards and interoperability and to give patients access and control of their medical records. The companies; Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce signed a pledge that was presented at the White House's Blue Button 2.0 developer conference. The conference took place last Monday. Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) told the press that “As transformative technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence continue to advance, it is important that we work towards creating partnerships that embrace open standards and interoperability.

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Blue Button Developers to Meet at the White House Today - Verma and Liddell to Open the Conference

More than 700 app developers and eHealth groups and organizations have registed to meet today at the White House for the first Blue Button 2.0 developer conference. The "The inaugural Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference will bring together application developers in the technical community to help build and develop new tools to help patients understand their health data,” said Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in a statement. 

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Is Cloud 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 monopoly 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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