Feature Articles

6 Ways Physicians can Free Patient Records

A certain doctor's practice had been using EHR software for many years; they had been paying a pretty penny too.  For their own reasons they wanted to change their software. They were going to brave the uncertain and scary world of transitioning their current EHR to another one. A round of applause for that decision alone, for many practices tolerate their EHR system only because they have paid a lot of money for it and have spent a lot of time training on it. They just don’t want to go through the pain all over again. This works out in favor of most EHR system vendors, doesn't it? Make the process so painful and costly that the physicians would not want to go through it again, thereby locking the caregivers into an eternal commitment.

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Why do EHR Firms Own Patient Data When Other Software Vendors Don't?

There's a healthy debate going on about healthcare data interoperability and I think the more we discuss it, the better off we'll be. It's absolutely crucial that all healthcare information systems be able to talk to each other in a way that is useful to both physicians/clinicians as well as patients. The only way to have truly interoperable systems is to have free (but safe and secure) data interchange and exchange requires access rights and an understanding of ownership rules. One part of the discussion that many vendors of electronic health records (EHRs), a large portion of the health IT ecosystem, don't want to have is about the ownership of patient data stored in "their" EHR systems.

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Is an Open Source EMR (OpenEMR) the Right Choice for Medical Practices?

Being the lead developer of OpenEMR, the world’s most widely deployed open source electronic medical record (EMR) system, I field calls on a daily basis from people who want to implement it. As part of the due diligence to discover and deliver the best possible outcome for the client, we give them a set of different implementation options that they can consider. The options range from a basic OpenEMR implementation at their offices, to a far more advanced and feature-packed “cloud” solution called BlueEHS.

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What Are the Real Consequences of ObamaCare?

If America has anything, it’s a disease care system that focuses on episodic interventions by health care professionals trying to salvage a patient from the ravages of chronic diseases, many of which are self-induced. It’s a system that does not focus on health maintenance, something that really would alter the nature of the country’s well-being. I would argue that using the same money we are spending on this ObamaCare nonsense to teach kids in elementary school how to eat, shop, cook, exercise, not use drugs or tobacco and to have safe sex would probably improve health in the country far more than this bill ever did or will.

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Tolven-The “Unified Platform” that Delivers All-in-One EHR/PHR/HIE

It is hard to miss the fact that the healthcare industry in the United States and other countries are finding that their existing health IT solutions are not interoperable and are simply unable to distribute, or even acquire, critical patient information. There are two fundamental approaches to fixing this problem. First try to bolt on capabilities that will create kludge systems that have partial interoperability capabilities, or start from scratch with a fully unified platform that has all the interoperability capabilities built-in from the ground up. That would be the Tolven Platform, and that is what this article examines. Read More »

VetAdvisor Deploys SugarCRM to Create a World-Class Veteran Relationship Management Platform

VetAdvisor, the nation’s expert in veteran-centric holistic care, has rapidly expanded its reach to military veterans through its recent deployment of the SugarCRM customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Leveraging  SugarCRM’s advanced open source CRM platform, VetAdvisor is able to provide proactive coaching services across behavioral health, wellness, financial, and all aspects of transition and career development.

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Is Open Source Tolven the "Dark Horse" of Health IT Platforms?

Is there perhaps a “dark horse” in the EHR field, just poised to challenge the overhyped, slow, clumsy, and expensive leaders of the EHR heat? All the troubles with lack of interoperability and usability of proprietary EHRs have suddenly put the spotlight on what may be the EHR dark horse, the open source Tolven Platform.

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Composable Software, Collaborative Development, and the CareWeb Framework

The CareWeb Framework (CWF) enables the software developer to build complex, richly interactive, web-based applications in a modular fashion...The CWF has been used as the basis for a complete EHR and CPOE system and has been ported to several open source EHRs, including OpenMRS, VistA, and RPMS. The CWF is open source software built upon open source software. Read More »

Integrating EHRs to Clinical Research EDC Systems

It has been a longstanding challenge to integrate patient data from EMRs (Electronic Medical Record systems) with EDC (Electronic Data Capture) systems for clinical studies and trials...These hurdles have been so high that the task has rarely been attempted in earnest, let alone accomplished in any significant way.  That is until recently.  How are these challenges being overcome today?  What changes have allowed this integration to be to considered and implement today? The answer is: lots!

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AMA Call To Action On Health Records Should Tell Doctors To Heal Themselves

The American Medical Association (AMA) is one of the most powerful and well-known institutions in this country. Opposition from the AMA helped to bury hopes for universal healthcare back in the Harry Truman presidency, and now the AMA maintains a stranglehold on Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes and therefore on any innovation in reporting medical services. So when the AMA puts out a press release titled AMA Calls for Design Overhaul of Electronic Health Records to Improve Usability, describing the serious usability problems of EHRs, and announcing the release of their “solution” white paper titled Improving Care: Priorities to Improve Electronic Health Record Usability, headlines get made and policy-makers start to stir. Can a snap of the fingers by the AMA bring the EHR industry in line? Read More »

The 5 Essentials of Cloud Computing For Clinical Trials

The pharmaceutical industry has been historically slow in adopting new technologies and it is only now that we are beginning to see the emergence of cloud based eClinical systems for the clinical trial industry. This article explores the true definition of cloud computing as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and applies it to eClinical systems. Read More »

OSEHRA 2014: Modernizing the VistA GUI

As we approach the 2014 OSEHRA EHR Summit, the topics of EHR Usability and EHR web enablement have become major points of discussion. This article is a quick attempt to summarize one of the key developments in this area. Sidney Tarason from Astute Semantics has produced groundbreaking prototypes for VistA that could shape the modernization effort moving forward for not just VistA, but for all EHRs based on the polymorphic MUMPS database (about 95% of all electronic health record (EHR) systems in the United States). Read More »

Using Open Source PDF Technology to Solve the Unstructured Data Problem in Healthcare

If there’s one major challenge to single out in healthcare IT today, it would be leveraging the growth and usage of big data. While consumer IT made big advances in the past decade to get a handle of data by marking up content, indexing it, and annotating it for use, enterprise, and healthcare IT in particular, still need to catch up on making data actionable. Read More »

Standards and Open Source Make Advances in Apps and Data Exchange for Health

I try to be optimistic about health care, and I managed to move my mood meter in that direction last month after talking about advances in data sharing, standards, and interoperability with a few people involved in the open FHIR standard: Grahame Grieve from the Core FHIR Development Team, David Hay from the FHIR Management Group, and Josh Mandel, a research scientist working on the open-source SMART Platform. Read More »

Open Source Electronic Health Records For Education And Training

In spite of being very involved in the field of Health Informatics I only recently became aware of VistA for Education (VFE), which has all of the aforementioned attributes of an  excellent solution for EHR education purposes. VFE was developed as a result of a grant from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) to supplement the ONC Health Information Technology (HIT) curriculum. Electronic health records (EHRs) are more than just the electronic equivalent of paper-based health records. Electronic health data is easier to search, share and archive, compared to paper records. Additionally, EHRs can be embedded with clinical decision support to alert and remind physicians of patient safety and preventive medicine measures.

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