Alot of interesting things happened at the 2008 HIMSS conference (in Orlando). It seems that Medsphere Systems unveiled a broad healthcare IT community initiative, called the Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem, that is focused on improving healthcare around its OpenVista EHR.
The CEO of Medsphere – Michael J. Doyle, told Health Imaging News that,
“Healthcare IT is not collaborative; it’s a bunch of siloed information with many big vendors, where data is neither transparent nor shared. As a result, patient care is compromised through the clinical systems that are in place”
Now that is something I totally agree with, there is indeed a huge gap in the space of interoperability (I think I’ve post countless blog entries on this subject) but wait, there’s more! Michael also mentioned some interesting facts (observations),
“The traditional healthcare IT approach, where you lock a customer into your product for ten years”
“So many facilities are sick of being locked into one given vendor, and being tied into that company’s development cycle for whatever functionality they can expect down the road”
Having worked / deal with healthcare informatics from the following perspectives: End-user (hospital), Vendor (solution provider) and research and consultancy (3rd party observer and adviser), I can feel the emotions behind those statements, it is true but I do not agree totally that by going open-source, the problems will be fixed (it would help only to a certain extend as ownership and medical legal issues will kick in if no one is ultimately responsible for it).
However, I think Medsphere has made a noble move in its attempt, I’m sure that this will serve as an enabler for change on how the healthcare IT industry will work (more standards).
I’ll conclude this post with another quote from Michael;
“Our eventual goal is to foster a worldwide ecosystem of software vendors, IT programmers, system integrators, consultants, trainers, clinicians all working together around best practices, knowledge repository, good clinical outcomes all for the betterment of patient care”
Amen to that.