Latest News

Internal Memo from CIO Roger Baker Sets Oct. 1 Deadline for Open Source Transition at VA

Open Health News has just obtained a copy of an internal memo sent by VA CIO Roger Baker to all the "Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries and other Key Officials," of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he sets a deadline of October 1, 2012 to implement the VA's open source initiative for VistA.

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Open Source Model Needed to Rein-In "Unsustainable" Health IT Expenditures, Says Frost & Sullivan

"Healthcare expenditure is reaching unsustainable levels on a global scale" according to the international consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. In a strongly worded press release, Frost & Sullivan says that "there is an urgent need for sustainable business models that can curb expenditure and promote better healthcare delivery." Frost & Sullivan concludes in a recently released analysis that the only way to end these "spiraling expenditure[s]" is to shift "from traditional to newer, more sustainable business models." The analysis specifically recommends a shift to open source as well as software as a service (SaaS), Managed Services, and the Freemium business models.

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Open Source Hardware: Exploring New Territory

As momentum from the open source culture continues to snowball, it acquires new categories—the newest component being open hardware. While open hardware lacks the benefit of a unified movement and faces legal obstacles, it is based upon the same principles that made open source software a soaring success. It also promises to effect positive change in many different fields, including (to name just two) farming and healthcare. Read More »

VA To Invest Billions in Open Source Transition

The open source strategy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was the focus of the recent Open Source Think Tank Conference in Napa, California held April 12-14. This conference, sponsored by the Olliance Group and now on its 7th year, has become one of the premier open source gatherings in the world. Top IT leaders of the VA came to the conference to ask for the advice of the open source community in finalizing the VA's strategy for the future of its world-class electronic health record (EHR) system, VistA.

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Other People's Code – FOSS vs Proprietary Health IT

FOSS hold great things for health care if the decision makers embrace it. To do that they need a clear picture of how FOSS will save the money.  The folks advertising a Free EHR are doing themselves a disservice by cheapening themselves and giving the FOSS FUDers an opportunity to exploit the stigma.  And FOSS is not Free, only royalty free to use. That distinction needs to made between “free” and “costs less”. That's why I am writing this article.

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OSEHRA Is On the Move

OSEHRA is on the Move. As we clear the hurdles of establishing Governance structure, clarifying Vision, implementing work Processes, and employing our IT Infrastructure and Development Tools, we simultaneously are preparing ourselves for the long run with the Open Source community. April 2012 was a busy month. We began the month by convening our first meeting of the OSEHRA Board of Directors; General (Retired) James Peake, Mr. Michael O’Neill and Dr. John Halamka. This inaugural Board meeting marks our official emergence as an independent organization with its own governing board. We will publish the meeting minutes on our web-site.

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Upcoming "Health Datapalooza" to Promote Innovation

This June, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will host the 3rd Annual Health Data Initiative Forum (or the 2012 Health Datapalooza) at the nation's capital. The event, keynoted by national CTO Todd Park, “will feature keynote addresses, a Data & Apps Expo, demonstrations of cutting-edge apps, hands-on data deep dives, and thought-provoking panel discussions". Read More »

Federal Agencies Must Pursue an IT 'Shared Services' Strategy

The recently released Federal Information Technology Shared Services Strategy provides organizations in the Executive Branch of the U.S. federal government with policy guidance on the full range and lifecycle of intra- and inter-agency information technology (IT) shared services, which enable mission, administrative, and infrastructure-related IT functions. "This strategy is part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management, which seeks to increase return on investment, eliminate waste and duplication, and improve the effectiveness of IT solutions. Commonly referred to as 'Shared-First', this strategy requires agencies to use a shared approach to IT service delivery." Read More »

'Open Source' Robotics Field Continues Rapid Growth

Robots are increasingly being used in the field of healthcare. So the announcement earlier this month about the formation of the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) is of some interest to those of us working in this field. OSRF is an independent, non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community. Their mission is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of 'open source' software for use in robotics research, education, and product development. Read More »

Hesperian Health Guides Releases Open Copyright Apps

Hesperian Health Guides released the Android version of their Safe Pregnancy and Childbirth app Friday, completing the new suite of free digital tools Hesperian made available in late February. These new digital tools, which were developed by Hesperian in partnership with The UnaMesa Association, are designed to provide community health workers worldwide with quick medical references and source content for training. The new digital tools suite consists of the Pregnancy and Safe Childbirth Application, a searchable HealthWiki, and an online image library. Read More »