US Department of Defense (DoD)

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Pursuing Adoption of Free and Open Source Software in Governments

Free and open source software creates a natural — and even necessary — fit with government. I joined a panel this past weekend at the Free Software Foundation conference LibrePlanet on this topic and have covered it previously in a journal article and talk. Our panel focused on barriers to its adoption and steps that free software advocates could take to reach out to government agencies. Read More »

PwC Pitches Open-Source Electronic Health Records

Adam Mazmanian | FCW | October 29, 2014

One of the entrants in the military's $11 billion electronic health record procurement is proudly flying the open source flag. The group led by PricewaterhouseCoopers includes General Dynamics IT and two open source health record providers whose products are based on the open source Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) -- DSS Inc. and MedSphere.

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The (Awesome) Economics of Open Source

Successful open source software companies "discover" markets where transaction costs far outweigh all other costs, outcompete the proprietary alternatives for all the good reasons that even the economic nay-sayers already concede (e.g., open source is simply a better development model to create and maintain higher-quality, more rapidly innovative software than the finite limits of proprietary software), and then-and this is the important bit-help clients achieve strategic objectives using open source as a platform for their own innovation. With open source, better/faster/cheaper by itself is available for the low, low price of zero dollars. As an open source company, we don't cry about that. Instead, we look at how open source might create a new inflection point that fundamentally changes the economics of existing markets or how it might create entirely new and more valuable markets.

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The HITECH Era in Retrospect

John D. Halamka, M.D. and Micky Tripathi, Ph.D. | The New England Journal of Medicine | September 7, 2017

At a high level, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 accomplished something miraculous: the vast majority of U.S. hospitals and physicians are now active users of electronic health record (EHR) systems. No other sector of the U.S. economy of similar size (one sixth of the gross domestic product) and complexity (more than 5000 hospitals and more than 500,000 physicians) has undergone such rapid computerization...

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The VA Waitlist Fiasco: VistA Should Not be Thrown Out With the Bathwater

Without a doubt, the death of American veterans as a result of the VA waitlist debacle is tragic and unacceptable. The Obama administration must move quickly and deliberately to fix the underlying problems and restore faith in the agency. If these issues were common throughout the VA network of hospitals and clinics, it might make sense to consider dramatic, earth-shaking alternatives like moving veterans to private providers and shuttering the VA. But they are not common. Indeed, as Washington Monthly reporter Phillip Longman has documented, the VA’s challenges are regional, not pervasive. Read More »

This mock pandemic killed 150 million people. Next time it might not be a drill

Lena H. Sun | Washington Post | May 30, 2018

A novel virus, moderately contagious and moderately lethal, has surfaced and is spreading rapidly around the globe. Outbreaks first appear in Frankfurt, Germany, and Caracas, Venezuela. The virus is transmitted person-to-person, primarily by coughing. There are no effective antivirals or vaccines...So began a recent day-long exercise hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The simulation mixed details of past disasters with fictional elements to force government officials and experts to make the kinds of key decisions they could face in a real pandemic. It was a tense day. The exercise was inspired in part by the troubled response to the Ebola epidemic of 2014, and everyone involved was acutely aware of the very real and ongoing Ebola outbreak spreading in Congo.

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To Protect Voting, Use Open-Source Software

R. James Woolsey and Brian J. Fox | The New York Times | August 3, 2017

Although Russian hackers are reported to have tried to disrupt the November election with attacks on the voting systems of 39 states, the consensus of the intelligence community is that they were probably unsuccessful in their efforts to delete and alter voter data. But another national election is just 15 months away, and the risk that those working on behalf of President Vladimir Putin of Russia could do real damage — and even manage to mark your ballot for you or altering your vote — remains...

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U.S. Coast Guard Terminated Contract with Epic for EHR Implementation

Heather Landi | Healthcare Informatics | April 22, 2016

The U.S. Coast Guard has discontinued an Integrated Health Information System (IHiS) implementation project, which is an expansion of an electronic health record (EHR) implementation project as part of a contract awarded to Verona, Wis.-based Epic Systems in 2010, a USCG representative said. The Coast Guard is pursuing an alternative EHR system, and, in the interim, Coast Guard physicians are continuing to use paper-based records, "without interruption of service to members and dependents," the USCG spokesperson, Alana Ingram, public affairs officer, said...

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U.S. Trying to Find More Doctors to Send to Disaster Areas

Melanie Evans | The Wall Street Journal | October 14, 2017

A U.S. government program that sends doctors and nurses to disaster zones says it needs more health-care workers, as relief efforts during this hurricane season are near the end of a second month with no end in sight in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The National Disaster Medical System, which recently wrapped up big deployments to hurricane-ravaged areas in Texas and Florida, says it will start recruiting more medical professionals in the next few weeks...

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US Defense Think Tank Calls for DoD to Adopt the Open Source VistA EHR and Avoid Closed and Proprietary EHRs.

One of the most prestigious U.S. defense think tanks, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), issued a white paper Thursday calling on the Department of Defense (DoD) to replace their existing dysfunctional “vendor-lock” medical records system with an electronic health records system (EHR) that is "extensible, flexible and easy to safely modify and upgrade as technology improves and interoperability demands evolve." The white paper warns that a "closed and proprietary" commercial EHR - such as the ones offered by Epic, Cerner or Allscripts - will lead to "vendor-lock” and isolation of health data. Read More »

VA and VistA: Can they be fixed?

Aisha Chowdhry | FCW | July 27, 2016

pivoting away from VistA, the agency's homegrown electronic health record system, would be a major shift for the VA. Former VA CIO Roger Baker said VistA is the only EHR designed by doctors, not technologists. "That is the real power of VistA, and it remains the real power of VistA," he added. The system, rooted in 1970s code, is designed to assist doctors in their daily work. Providers at the various VA medical facilities nationwide customize it for their specific needs.

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VanRoekel Talks Firsthand Of Ebola-Plagued West Africa

Billy Mitchell | FedScoop | December 3, 2014

Steven VanRoekel, about two months into his detail as chief innovation officer of the U.S. Agency for International Development and its battle against Ebola, recently spent seven days in Ebola-stricken Liberia. Despite painting a disastrous and bleak picture of a region crippled by the epidemic, VanRoekel did say, in some ways, things were beginning to return to normal...

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VA’s CIO Stephen Warren on Serving Veterans

Dan Verton | FedScoop | August 18, 2014

In his first interview since a scandal involving secret waiting lists forced a change of leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Stephen Warren, VA’s chief information officer, offers a candid assessment of the agency’s past and future technology plans. Read More »

Veterans Affairs: We want the DOD to pick us for its new EHR

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | March 14, 2014

The VA will be adding its competitive bid to a host of commercial offerings, said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki during a hearing this week, to give the DOD more options as it selects a new EHR system to replace the aging AHLTA suite. Read More »

VistA Is A Rival to Epic and Cerner in Major Deployments of EHR Systems

According to a recent article in Healthcare IT News, Intermountain Healthcare has just signed a multi-year contract to deploy Cerner electronic health record (EHR) systems. The article claims that "only two companies – Epic and Cerner – seem to be in competition for the large and complex deployments."  However, there is a third option that constantly goes unrecognized - the widespread deployment and use of the world reknowned 'open source' VistA system by large scale healthcare provider organizations in the U.S. and overseas. Read More »