OSEHRA Making Strides: A Review of the Open Source EHR Summit & Workshop

Andrew Aitken | Open Source Delivers | October 31, 2012

Last week I was fortunate to both attend and present at OSEHRA’s first annual Open Source EHR Summit & Workshop. There were some great presentations on the status of OSEHRA and open source in health care, the general advancement of technology in health care, and how the government clearly believes in the ethos of open source, meritocracy, collaboration, community and transparency as a core driver of innovation and competitiveness; at least at the conceptual level.

Presenters included folks like Todd Park, U.S. CTO, Steven Van Roekel, U.S. CIO, OMB, John Halamka, MD, CIO, Harvard, and many more. Further, the presenters, mostly government and health care insiders with a few vendors, clearly believed in, and supported the Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense’s mandate to put individual patients health care at the forefront of technology advancement. Let’s not build systems for systems sake because we can, but because it improves the lives and experience of our veterans.

The existence of OSEHRA itself is a testament to the will, thoughtfulness and, above all, risk taking of people like General Peake, past secretary of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Chairman of OSEHRA, current Secretary Eric Shinseki, Peter Levine, Senior Advisor to the Secretary and CTO, VA, Roger Baker, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, VA, and Michael O’Neill, Senior Advisor, VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2). OSEHRA has made real strides over the past year in establishing itself organizationally – not something done easily within traditional government practices and FAR and DFAR procurement rules. Further, it has begun refactoring the VistA code and starting to make it more modular and useful to outside parties and in developing the earliest stages of a community. But, OSEHRA has three significant areas where there is still quite a long way to go...