OSEHRA 2012: Oroville Hospital CEO to Participate in Keynote Panel at Open Source EHR Conference in DC

Press Release | Oroville Hospital | October 10, 2012

Robert Wentz to discuss Oroville Hospital's open source VistA implementation at OSEHRA conference in Washington, DC.

Oroville, CA (PRLog) October 10, 2012—Robert Wentz, President and CEO of Oroville Hospital in Oroville, CA, has been asked to speak during the keynote panel at the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA) conference in Washington, DC, on October 17th and 18th. This is the first annual conference of the OSEHRA organization and considered a major watershed in the transformation of US government software development towards an open, collaborative, and transparent development process. OSEHRA was created by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) a year ago to serve as a “bridge” to the private sector in its drive to collaborate with private sector companies in the continuing development and enhancement of it's world-class electronic health record system (EHR), VistA.

Wentz will be sharing the podium during the keynote panel with some of the best known advocates of health IT transformation in the U.S., including John Halamka, MD, PhD, CIO of both Harvard medical school and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, James Peake, MD, former Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs and currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of OSEHRA, W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Federal CIO Steven Van Roekel. Overall the conference brings together a unique combination of top level federal policy makers, open source business thought leaders, enterprise executives experienced in Open Source EHR deployment and leading academic medical informatics researchers.

Wentz was invited to share the story of how Oroville Hospital successfully implemented VistA for a fraction of the cost of proprietary EHR solutions. The Oroville EHR implementation has become known as the reference implementation for those hospitals and clinics in the United States that want to build their own EHR.

Recently Forbes magazine featured Oroville Hospital's implementation in a story written by Zina Moukheiber and titled “Open Source Electronic Health Records: A Cost Solution For Hospitals.” As noted in Forbes, “At a time when hospitals are spending millions to digitize, open source EHR software is an alternative option to costly and proprietary systems...Oroville Hospital is completing implementation of its EHR, a process that took three years and cost an estimated $10 million (including hardware)—probably half the price of a commercial EHR.”

Dr. Seong K. Mun PhD, President and CEO of OSEHRA, points out that "the Oroville case is an excellent example of how open source solution can deliver a product and services that satisfies the customer.” According to Dr. Mun, “Robert Wentz is a visionary leader in the new economy of open source in health IT.” 

Wentz is very excited about the opportunity to address the OSEHRA conference. He is looking forward to sharing ideas and meeting other stakeholders in the community and hoping to have the opportunity to help shape the common direction of the VistA EHR. Wentz would like to impress on the participants the importance on collaboration between Federal government agencies and the private sector in the continuing development of VistA.

Dr. Mun shares Wentz' view, emphasizing that “the OSEHRA community will continue providing additional new open source capabilities to help Oroville remain on the cutting edge of health IT." In fact this is one of the key objectives of OSEHRA. The organization was initially created by the VA to help them collaborate with the private sector in the continuing development of VistA. The VA's effort in creating this collaborative environment is detailed in this article published in Open Health News, an open source news site that has reported regularly on the success of the Oroville VistA implementation.

In addition, Wentz also wants to discuss the importance and the opportunities of open source EHRs in the private healthcare environment. Wentz believes that Oroville Hospital's experience demonstrates how any hospital in the US can implement an open source EHR. At the same time Wentz also wants to influence the way that proprietary products are implemented. Given the reality that most US hospitals will still implement proprietary EHR's Wentz would like to see Oroville Hospital's success be used to ensure that  these proprietary EHR vendors are transparent and accountable for what they do.

Transparency and accountability are two of the key reasons why Oroville Hospital decided to implement VistA. Another one is control. According to Wentz, the hospital staff  wanted an EHR that they could tailor to their own unique needs, and one that can be modified as the hospital grows and evolves its own requirements. Oroville Hospital has already seen great benefits from the implementation. They have achieved improvements in core quality measures. In addition, the ability to hardwire procedures to VistA has improved communications between inpatient and outpatient services.

In addition to the keynote speakers, the OSEHRA conference features a whole range of well-known figures including Roger Baker and Peter Levin, CIO and CTO of the VA, Howard Hays, CIO of the Indian Health Service, Karen S. Guice, MD, MPP, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Department of Defense, Peter Groen, Senior Editor of Open Health News, and many others. More details on the conference can be found here.

About Oroville Hospital

Founded in 1962, Oroville Hospital has grown from a modest community hospital supported by a small staff of dedicated doctors into a 153-bed acute care facility specializing in a broad range of inpatient and outpatient services, including multiple physician practices.  Oroville Hospital is a private, non-profit corporation serving the citizens of the Oroville area and Butte County by OroHealth Corporation.  With a medical staff of more than 130 physicians, Oroville Hospital prides itself on providing the highest quality medical care in a friendly and compassionate environment.

For more information, please contact:

Shanna Roelofson
Director of Marketing
Oroville Hospital
(530) 532-8044