OSEHRA 2013 Summit Shines, even as DoD Shuns the Summit

The Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA) Summit was held this past week in Bethesda, Maryland.  The focus was on the use of the VistA electronic health record (EHR) and other open source solutions in healthcare.

The following are some quick observations about the conference, its speakers, and topics covered:

  • Dr. Seong K Mun kicked off the OSEHRA Summit. A welcoming statement of his about the conference was posted on the OSEHRA web site.
  • Acting CIO for the VA, Stephen Warren gave an excellent talk during the opening plenary session, reaffirming VA commitment to open source, VistA, and OSEHRA.
  • Tony Shannon then spoke about plans to pilot test the implementation of VistA in several hospitals within the National Health Service (IHS) within the U.K., starting with Leeds Hospital. Stay tuned for news about more hospitals in England following suit.
  • Good panel presentations this week on growing use of VistA in over 1800 healthcare facilities across the U.S. and around the world. See related article on Open Health News.
  • Shortly thereafter, rumors were confirmed that DSS signed contract to install vxVistA in 23 NY hospitals, 300 clinics. CGI is prime contractor.
  • The CEO of Oroville Hospital in California talked about their implementation of VistA and the many clinical and financial benefits they are now reaping from that initiative.
  • Mike Newman, CIO for the Tennessee Department of Health spoke at the conference about their plans to use open source and VistA to support some of their public health programs.
  • Strangley, this year there were no DoD representatives visibly present, though they are supposed committed to working with the VA on VistA and other potential open source health IT solutions. Almost like they were ordered not to appear. So much for interagency VA/DoD collaboration.
  • Representatives from the health IT community in India (i.e. ohumVistA) let us know that there are now approximately 8 hospitals running VistA in their country and several companies now supporting it. Plans are to continue rapid deployment of VistA across India.
  • There were many other great speakers, tutorials, and workshops held during the conference. Summaries of presentations, copies of slideshows, etc. will be posted on the OSEHRA web site shortly.

A more detailed article on the OSEHRA Summit is being prepared by Roger Maduro, the Managing Editor at Open Health News.  You can also see some of the many tweets by attendees during the conference by going to Twitter and looking for #OSEHRA.

For those others who were also in attendance, feel free to add your observations about the OSEHRA Summit to this blog.


Added Notes

Some other notes about the conference to add: #1 - Howard Hayes, the CIO for Indian Health Service, gave a great presentation about RPMS, their version of VistA. #2 - Several sessions touched more heavily on costs of proprietary versus open source VistA installations. Seems that over 3-5 years, hospital costs for an open source EHR are about 1/5 of a proprietary system; for clinics it's about 1/3 the cost of COT solutions. #3 - The representatives from India mentioned that they had implemented VistA in one U.S. hospital with more to follow. Look out for the competition.