The latest posting at LinuxMedNews seems to indicate things are heating up a little. What has been getting interesting has been a rising tide of voices including politicians both in the US and Canada as well as OSS vendors. Now there’s an Open Source Letter to President Obama online where the general public is invited to add their comments.
Woe to the unsuspecting Veterinarian not using proper species biometric logins!
(Absolutely couldn’t resist)
Perhaps the notion of open source EHRs is really on a roll. The Dept of Defense and Veterans Health Administration have long been criticized for the lack of interoperability between their 2 healthcare systems. The VHA is open source and the DoD has been proprietary. Now, in a stunning turn of events, it sounds like they are thinking about having a more open EHR for the DoD.
Let’s see, we’ve now seen a US Senator, the Wall Street Journal and now even the land of proprietary procurement purchases talking about open EHR systems. What next?
The VHA’s home-grown electronic healthrecord system is open source (through the Freedom of Information Act) and freely available to anyone who wants to download it from the VHA’s website. The Wall Street Journal has recently suggested it might be a viable solution for medical facilities seeking a lower cost alternative to proprietary EHRs. (Those of us VistA watchers have been saying this for a long time.)
Looks like somebody heard about the potential for this in healthcare. See the info on latest legislation introduced by Rockefeller D-WV.
BTW, a group of public clinics in West Virginia has implemented a variation of the VHA’s open source VistA system, called RPMS and there has been some positive feedback coming out of the project. This is a good example of what I call “VistA in the Wild” – the system being adopted outside it’s native environment at the VHA. This is significant since a barrier to this has been the fact that th VHA is different in ways from the public healthcare sector and the system has had to be adapted for use. This is something that bears close watching. Maybe people out there are “getting it”.
stupidity check = ON
Yep, we have the redoubtable “Octo-Mom” to thank for yet another warning on how vulnerable your healthcare records are in electronic form. Just look at all those Kaiser employees who were fired for snooping through her medical records.
If only those records had been kept on paper with no login authentication or audit trail!
Another article on the Stimulus package cites the novel use of the term Open Source being used to describe types of health information systems that should be investigated and evaluated. Others are starting to be intrigued by possible cost savings and customizability possibilities. Of course, I’m preaching to the choir here.
Physicians who are writing about their encounters with health IT systems have made some interesting observations on interface design problems in some of the proprietary systems out there.
Just scroll down to see some of the interface examples here. And people feel safer about a proprietary product vs an open source (like the VHA’s VistA) product? I’ll leave it to the interface designers here to post their critiques.
Just another aside, check out the “hold harmless clause” being foisted on potential purchasers of proprietary EHRs. Looks like the Docs are going to have to add another 6 months to their medical residencies so they can learn debugging methodologies.
There is a good roundup of issues confronting/thwarting attempts to have Open Source, interoperable, etc. Electronic Health Records over at LinuxMedNews today. Where, oh where, will that $19 billion dollars go?
There has been some discussion as to whether or not Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are “medical devices” and as such should be regulated. Recently there was an excellent posting at LINUXMEDNEWS tackling the issue of informed consent for patients subjected to being beta testers for proprietary EHRs and clinical HIT devices.
The article does provoke some thought on why healthcare IT is a somewhat different animal from Management Information Systems for business. Should you have the right to know what the bug ratings look like for an EHR the same way you expect a list of potential side effects for medications and clinical procedures? The phenomenon of “E-Iatrogenesis” has been coined at JAMIA to indicate unintended consequences of using an EHR. If paper is also used for clinical decision making, should the patient also be made aware of potential drawbacks of using that medium as well?