Open Health Tools Unites Aurion and FHA CONNECT

Press Release | Open Health Tools | April 2, 2014

VIENNA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Open Health Tools (OHT), an organization that provides leadership for open-source communities in the health IT space, announced today that governance of the CONNECT project is migrating to become an OHT Project with active involvement of both the Aurion and Federal Health Architecture (FHA) CONNECT teams. These teams are merging their respective source codes to form a unified platform. The project will continue to be called CONNECT and will reside under the open-source community governance framework promoted by OHT. It will use a meritocracy approach that allows members from across the coding community to contribute to and manage the platform.

“This officially transitions CONNECT from the government to the open-source community,” said Bruce Amato, Open Health Tools CEO. “We encourage all types of contributors to participate - the hard coders, stakeholders and domain experts. The goal of the project will be to give all of their voices an opportunity to add value, help identify requirements, and embrace new functional elements.”

“FHA is very excited about this relationship with OHT,” said FHA Director Gail Kalbfleisch. “Moving CONNECT to the open source community for the management of its code and governance has been a part of the program’s timeline since the beginning. It is an accomplishment to reach this stage and know that a thriving community like OHT is stepping up to take CONNECT to new heights.”

The original FHA CONNECT incarnation was developed by the government to promote secure health information exchange not only internally, but between organizations. It has become a de facto tool for health information exchanges (HIEs) to interact with federal agencies, and increasingly among private-sector health organizations. It has served as a reference platform for numerous open-source projects, including Aurion – this migration to OHT will finally bring the FHA and Aurion activities together to better serve a common open source community.

Open Health Tools (OHT), which has an established ecosystem having managed open-source communities for more than six years, has been extremely pleased by the displayed mutual intent of both communities’ leadership to bring these combined efforts together under a common umbrella. In addition to launching the OHT CONNECT Project, the OHT leadership also created a User Advisory Group (UAG); recognizing that a broad collaborative community of not only software engineers, but also those with practical, real world policy and work-flow expertise were essential to the collective success of the OHT CONNECT Project. Success hinges on the inclusion of all interested community stakeholders.

Dave Riley, now the Chief of Informatics at Harris Health Care Solutions and president of The Alembic Foundation, endorses the OHT CONNECT Project as “a step toward a true open-community-based HIE solution. It’s geared toward addressing the needs of the entire community as represented by a merit-based, peer consensus process of the contributors and developers.”

Amato concluded, “We’re encouraging everyone in the industry – from individual developers to major HIE organizations – to join. This community offers them a chance to have a say in the direction of the product’s standards and features.”

Professionals interested in contributing can visit

Open Health Tools, a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association, is the open-source clearinghouse for health IT projects. It grows and manages a complex ecosystem that comprises communities of: individuals who want secure, private access to their health information; health professionals and services providers who need a common platform to supply that information; open source standards organizations and developers who collaborate to provide that platform; as well as academics, researchers and vendors. Learn more at

Open Health Tools
Ginna Yost, 706-897-5797
[email protected]


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