OSEHRA 2015 Summit to Feature Several Major Open Health IT Projects

Roger A. MaduroThe 2015 OSEHRA Open Source Summit is opening in two days with a panel addressing the need for the open health community to join forces and work together to change the current health IT paradigm from expensive and outdated pre-internet mainframe solutions to innovative open solutions. The panel brings together six leaders from diverse open health communities and technologies to discuss how the community can join forces. I have the honor of being the moderator of the panel.

The speakers for the Open Health panel are:

  • Cal Collins-Founder and CEO of OpenClnica, the leading open source clinical research software platform.
  • John Jones-Founder and CEO of LabLynx, Inc and the Laboratory Informatics Institute (LiMS). The LIMS forum in LinkedIn has 72,714 members. One of the largest groups in LinedIn. Very active in open source lab discussions.
  • Thanh Tran-Founder and CEO of Zoeticx, the first and leading middleware platform solution for the health IT industry.
  • Shameem Hameed-Founder and CEO of ZH Healthcare, the leading commercial OpenEMR solutions provider.
  • Gary Bartholomew-Executive Chairman of Open Source Health (OSH). OSH is focused on a holistic health approach to medicine and is leveraging OpenEMR to build a cloud-based open source EHR.
  • Tony McCormick-Chairman of OEMR, the non-profit organization that represents the OpenEMR community and CEO of MI-Squared.

The Open Health panel will take place during the opening plenary session of the conference on Wednesday, July 29th. The conference runs through the 31st and it is being held at the Bethesda Marriott North Hotel and Conference Center in Maryland, on of the finest conference locations in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area. That the conference is starting with the open health panel is no coincidence.

The OSEHRA leadership is fully aware that for open health to become the new paradigm in health IT, the entire open health needs to be working together. How this can be accomplished is the subject of discussion for the panel. It certainly is not for lack of projects. Dr. Seong K. Mun, President and CEO of OSEHRA, emphasized this goal in this article where he stated:  “...the OSEHRA community is expanding beyond its VistA-centric origins. This year, in collaboration with Open Health News, a diverse panel of open source community leaders has been formed to exchange ideas, expertise, and business opportunities.”

At Open Health News we are currently tracking more than 4,000 projects that can be defined as open solutions for the healthcare industry and medical research. These projects are as good, or better, than any “lock-in” solution. Yet, these open health solutions are being systematically ignored by Congress, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the HIMSS organization. This despite the fact that the current approach to health IT, as mandated by the HITECH Act, has cost the healthcare industry over $1.5 trillion dollars since the Act became law, and has so far failed to deliver on any of its promised benefits.

On one hand, doctors and other caregivers find the obsolte "lock-in" EHRs hard to use, as illustrated in this Washington Post op ed by ER doctor and Maryland State Delegate Dan Morhaim as well as this press release by the California Nurses Association (CNA). On the other hand, because these "lock-in" EHRs are based on pre-internet, mainframe-based technologies, they are not interoperable. This defeats the key purpose of EHRs--sharing of medical records so that patients and their caregivers have full access to their records at the poitn of care. This is not a minor issue as more than 400,000 Americans die evey year due to medical errors. Not haveing access to a patient's full medical records is one of the key factors behind this healthcare catastrophe. These problems are addressed by open solutions as the users can easily configure open source EHRs to work the way they want and open health solutions are built with interoperability in mind from the ground up.

So the question then is, how can the open health community work together to make open health solutions the new paradigm? This is the topic of the panel and the discussion will continue through the conference as the panelists will also have separate presentations throughout the conference to present their organizations and solutions in greater detail to the conference participants.

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Lablynx is a proprietary

Lablynx is a proprietary software developer with big portfolio of closed source applications and no Open Source code despite public claims to the contrary, see this LIMS Circus discussion. There are no open membership records available for the Lablynx 'Institute' and it is not an industry representing body as the name suggests. The few Open Source discussions at the LIMS Forum are conducted by individuals with no or little exposure to Open Source culture, LinkedIn is not their forum of choice.

I am interested to know how Jones contributed at the conference.

Lemoene Smit
Bika Open Source LIMS Collective
Bika Health Group
Bika Health Demo