Open Source and EHRs: A proven reality and invaluable opportunity

Michael J. Doyle | Healthcare IT News | September 20, 2011

The marriage between open source technology and electronic health records is at first blush, greeted by many with skepticism regarding robustness and efficacy. In truth, persistent myths obscure an intriguing reality: Open source EHR systems are not only possible but already in place.

Case in point: VistA is an enterprise-wide clinical information management solution used throughout the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, known as the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Characterized by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences as one of the best health IT systems available, VistA is also the most widely used electronic health record in the world. It is a fully integrated EHR consisting of more than 100 software modules, including computerized provider order entry (CPOE), bar code medication administration (BCMA), clinical documentation, pharmacy, laboratory and radiology. And because it was developed by the federal government, VistA is available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act...