Feature Articles

Tech Glitches at One VA Site Raise Concerns About a Nationwide Rollout

Spokane, Washington, was supposed to be the center of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ tech reinvention, the first site in the agency’s decade-long project to change its medical records software. But one morning in early March, the latest system malfunction made some clinicians snap. At Spokane’s Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, the records system — developed by Cerner Corp., based in North Kansas City, Missouri — went down. Staffers, inside the hospital and its outpatient facilities, were back to relying on pen and paper. Computerized schedules were inaccessible. Physicians couldn’t enter new orders or change patients’ medications.

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The Sequoia Project Releases a Useful Workgroup Report on Information and Pandemic Response

In February 2022 the Sequoia Project released its Emergency Preparedness Information Workgroup’s Pandemic Response Insights and Recommendations. This workgroup was convened in the fall of 2020 at the height of the pandemic with a diverse set of stakeholders from all areas of the healthcare system. The resulting short report is worth a read as it offers concise analysis and recommendations. The first task the workgroup undertook was to conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis focused on pandemic response. There was a strong public health focus that resulted from this activity: “During a declared emergency, and during non-emergency times as well, public health should be viewed as a collaborator and partner with equal access to shared data” (p. 6).

The National Science Foundation Bets Big On Open Source

The National Science Foundation (NSF) wants to grow the community of researchers who develop and contribute to open source and enable pathways for collaboration that lead to new technologies that have broad impacts on society...[NSF] just announced US$ 21 million to fund open source development through a new program: Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems (PEOSE).

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Get Started With Carbonio, An Open Source Collaboration Platform

In recent years, interest in using open source collaboration platforms to enhance business productivity increased. Proprietary software has managed to overwhelm customers with a maze of licensing requirements and pay-to-play features that many companies don't want to manage. On the other hand, open source offers alternatives that give companies the liberty of choice and allow new businesses to enter existing markets easier with more control over upfront costs.

European Commissioner Outlines Open Source Priorities

The Commissioner welcomed developments in open source throughout public administrations in Europe to seize the economic and innovative potential of open source. These include the Action Plan on Free Software and Digital Commons in France, the initiatives in Estonia, Spain and Italy, as well as the newly created Centre for Digital Sovereignty in Germany. According to the Commissioner, several factors are needed to use the potential of open source and to reach the political goals of the EU: nurturing a tech startup culture, utilising the digital single market for lean and sustainable tech industry, overcoming planned obsolescence, pooling the efforts of the EU’s Member States for technological independence and improving cybersecurity.

US Department Of Defense Publishes New Guidelines For The Internal Use Of Open Source For Cyber Defense Purposes

On January 24, 2022, John Sherman, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the US Department of Defense (DoD) released internally (and published two days later) a Memorandum for the Senior Pentagon Leadership, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, the Commanders of the Combatant Commands, the Defense Agency and the DoD Field Activity Directors. Particularly, it provides the Department of Defense with new guidelines on software development and open source software, addressing the opportunities and challenges that open source can represent for the public sector, and how the latter should interact in this regard.

Cures Act EHR Reporting Program Draft Measures—What this Means for Public Health

As part of the ONC Health IT Certification Program, Congress mandated the establishment of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) Reporting Program to help determine the effectiveness of the program. The first step toward implementation was the development of an initial set of CEHRT developer metrics which were released in draft form in December 2021. When finalized, these metrics will represent data that EHR vendors will have to report to ONC as a Condition and Maintenance of Certification. The initial focus of the metrics developed was interoperability, and public health was one of four categories considered.

3 Ideas For Bringing Innersource To Your Company

Like open source, innersource is all about being transparent and collaborative. This usually leads to a sense of belonging that favors employee happiness if done right. Regardless of org charts, geographies, or expertise levels, innersource creates an inclusive environment where employees contribute and collaborate in the open and learn from one another. When everyone defaults to transparency, silos tend to disappear, and employees save time by reusing code, processes, or best practices from different parts of the organization.

How Radical Transparency Is Transforming Open Source Healthcare Software

At Tidepool, where I work as a Community and Clinic Success Manager, the company's mission is to make diabetes software more accessible, meaningful, and actionable. Operating in the open is how we achieve that. Tidepool's diabetes management software is an open source platform free for both clinicians and people impacted by diabetes. And, because the company is a nonprofit, it also operates according to the transparency rules that govern 501(c)(3) organizations.

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ONC Releases Several New Specifications in 2022

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) started off the new year by releasing several new specifications supporting health information interoperability...On January 3, 2022 ONC released the Version 3 Draft of the US Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) which defines a core set of data for common interoperability transactions in healthcare. It defines classes of data as well as specific data elements within those classes and represents the data that can be expected to be shared at minimum between data partners. While public health is included, ONC has recently recognized that public health use cases (and therefore their data needs) differ from clinical care use cases...

ONC Finally Releases TEFCA—What it Might Mean to Public Health

On January 18, 2022 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) finally released version 1 of the Trusted Exchange Framework,  Common Agreement and the QHIN (Qualified Health Information Network) Technical Framework (QTF). Several years in the making, these documents represent the latest attempt at initiating a national health information exchange in the United States. This project is being managed by ONC’s Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE), The Sequoia Project, and was inspired by both the HITECH Act and 21st Century Cures Act.

Why Universities Choose Open Source Collaboration Software

Higher education institutions are actively looking for ways to adapt to rapidly improving technology and enable students to use advances in computing to study, collaborate, and learn in new ways. Many institutions have been using open source software to exchange knowledge more easily, ensure a better learning experience, and handle administration with fewer worries. Demand for open source software in higher education is drastically increasing especially as the need for remote learning grows.

How Are Open Source And Cloud Computing Compatible?

It seems everyone is rushing to get their software on the cloud. The rapid growth of cloud computing has empowered hyperscaler cloud providers to market various technologies to feed the growing demand. Hyperscalers are now providing full-stack capabilities to increase their footprint and further lock-in customers, making the cloud seem more like a threat than an open communal space. What does the cloud actually offer? Quite a lot, based on reports from the field:

Open Source To Be The Norm In German Public Procurement

On 8 December 2021 a coalition of SPD (Social Democratic Party, the Greens (Alliance 90 / The Greens) and Liberals (Free Democratic Party) took office after obtaining a majority in the 26 September federal elections. With the new government comes a renewed commitment to digitalisation of not only the public sector but society and economy at large...In the final coalition agreement open source software plays an important role. It is considered in a digital sovereignty and pan-European context, as a way to bring progress to digital infrastructure and government services. Interoperability, data portability, open standards and open source are all named as prerequisites to achieve digital sovereignty.

European Commission Launches Interoperable Europe, The New Policy Framework For Interoperability In The European Union

On November 21st, the European Commission announced the launch of Interoperable Europe, the initiative for a reinforced interoperability policy in the EU that replaces the ISA2 Program and is funded by the new Digital Europe Programme, a new funding program focused on digitalization for businesses, citizens and public administrations.Interoperable Europe represents the policy framework for pursuing, supporting, developing and promoting interoperability across the European Union. On the financial side, it is funded by the part of the Digital Europe Program dedicated to interoperability.