OSEHRA 2012 Summit A Great Success

Peter GroenThe 1st Annual Open Source EHR Summit held this week at the Gaylord National Conference Center at National Harbor, just outside Washington D.C., was well attended by over 400 participants. The event was a huge success and many of the participants openly voiced the belief that this effect will be seen as the tipping point for open source in healthcare. 

The Summit was hosted by the Open Source Electronic Health Records Agent (OSEHRA) organization is the custodial agent of the open source software code for the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs' (VA) VistA EHR system. The conference has a packed agenda with more that 30 speakers from both the public and private sector, including Todd Park, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) for the U.S. Government who told the audience that “OSEHRA is catalyzing another ecosystem for open source software and health IT innovation that no closed system could do," adding that "this is unbelievably cool..."

The first plenary session of the conference was on the "Future of Open Source Software and the EHR," chaired by James Peake, MD, former Secretary of the VA and currently the Chairman of the Board of OSEHRA. The panel included Dr. Seong Ki Mun, President & CEO of OSEHRA, John Halamka, MD, MS, CIO of Beth Israel Medical Center, and Robert Wentz, President & CEO of Oroville Hospital, who led the self-implementation of VistA in their regional hospital in Northern California and has become one of the best known advocates of open health IT in the U.S.

Open Health News (OHNews) provided continuing updates on the sessions at the OSEHRA Summit via Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+,  in addition to blogs by Roger Maduro, the Editor-in-Chief of OHNews.

John Halamka talked about his experience as CIO of Beth Israel where the entire data center is running on open source software. Robert Wentz gave a presentation on challenges CIO's in private sector hospitals are facing and then discussed the successful implementation of VistA at Oroville Hospital and how they managed to obtain meaningful use certification in less than a year. Dr. Mun gave a presentation on the history of OSEHRA and the key role the organization is going to play in building an open health community development ecosystem around the VistA EHR system.

Roger A. MaduroSpeakers in second plenary session on "Health IT Innovations in the VA" included Theresa Cullen, MD, former CIO of the Indian Health Service and currently Director of Health Informatics at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Roger Baker, CIO of the VA, Mike O'Neill, Senior Advisor, VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2), and Robert Jesse, MD, Deputy Undersecretary for Health at the VA, Roger Baker and Mike O'Neill gave a detailed presentation on the history of the VA's open source strategy and what the VA is looking to achieve, as well as their expectations with regards to the role that OSEHRA going forward.

Other speakers on the first day of the OSEHRA Summit included Andrew Aitken, GM & SVP, Olliance Group, a division of Black Duck Software, who gave an informative presentation on the evolution of open source business models and best practices. He was followed by a panel of speakers from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) who talked about open source policy at DoD, security issues, and the joint VA/DoD iEHR initiative. Finally, Todd Park, CTO for the U.S. Government, praised the VA and OSEHRA for their innovative approach of engaging the public and private sector in developing open source solutions to advance improvement in healthcare in the VA that can also be applied to other efforts across the country to improve healthcare for all Americans.

There were a number of other great speakers on Day 1 of the OSEHRA Summit from across the public and private sector. To get see who they were and to get copies of their presentation, make sure you visit the OSEHRA web site at www.osehra.org

The lineup of speakers for the second day of the OSEHRA Summit was just as exciting. For example Dr. Peter Levin painted an inspiring picture of the future, with emphasis on genomic, open data, and patient focused solutions we can expect to see in the coming decade, and the key role vendors will play in producing the innovative Open Health systems of the future.

After the opening plenary session on Day 2, the conference broke into a series of sessions or tracks covering a range of topics focused on: Enterprise Solutions, Interoperability & Testing, the Open Source Ecosystem, Sustainability & Business Models, Development Tools, Genomics, Mobile Health, Global Health, Big Data, and more.

Congratulations to Dr. Seong Mun and the OSEHRA staff for putting on a great conference, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for blazing the way and moving forward with its innovative 'Open Health' strategy to improve care to veterans.

More news on OSEHRA to follow.

[Updated 11/9] Since the publication of this article we have seen significant coverage of the OSEHRA conference, as well as major news, including the announcement that the Tennessee Department of Health has formally requsted funding to implement VistA in the entire State. Tennessee is one of more than half-a-dozen States that have studied all the potential State-wide EHR solutions and have come to the conclusion that VistA is the best option. Below we have a listing of the most interesting articles and stories related to VistA and OSEHRA's breakthrough Summit. 




Just saw the announcement

Just saw the announcement that audio podcasts and slidedecks from the 1st Annual OSEHRA Open Source EHR Summit and Workshop are now available online. See http://www.osehra.org/blog/slidedecks-and-audio-1st-annual-osehra-open-s...