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Why the VA Should Stick with VistA and Not Waste $16 Billion on a Replacement

This VA leadership lull provides an opportunity for reflection. Specifically, it’s worth asking while we have the time whether Cerner is the right path for the VA to take. While the decision may seem like a no-brainer to some, the VA’s situation is unique and arguably calls for a singular approach to both existing organizational issues and a major healthcare IT decision. Specific to the Cerner decision, what should the new VA secretary consider?

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No Signatures Required for Credit Cards. Why are Faxes Still Required to Transmit Medical Records?

If you live in the U.S., you've probably had the experience of paying for a meal using a credit card. The server takes your card, disappears to somewhere in the back, does something with it that you can't see, and returns with your card, along with two paper receipts, one of which you need to sign. Everything that happens to me, I think, what is this, the 1960's?As of last week, the major credit card companies -- American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa -- are no longer requiring that signature. As a Mastercard person told CNET, "It is the right time to eliminate an antiquated practice."

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Healthcare Has Cost Problems, but IT and EHRs Do Not Have to be One of Them

I’m proud to lead a group of intelligent and energetic technology professionals committed to developing a robust healthcare IT system that is (1) easy for clinicians to use, (2) improves patient health and (3) doesn’t bankrupt hospital budgets. We think any sustainable system must have those three key requirements. And how is healthcare doing thus far? The EHRs available today are developing rapidly. Vendors are making frequent and impactful improvements to improve system usability. Clinicians are getting better at maximizing the contribution healthcare IT makes to patient health and safety. It’s not hard to see how healthcare IT can meet the first two requirements and broadly contribute to improved healthcare.

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“Write Code! Save Lives!” OpenMRS Meet in Malawi Shows the Way

More recently, I attended the 12th annual International OpenMRS Implementers’ Conference in the capital city of Malawi, Lilongwe, from Dec. 12 to 16, 2017. At this annual event, volunteers, developers and implementers came together to talk about all things OpenMRS and develop strategies for the evolution and applications of the software....Meeting this determined and committed community has boosted my drive and sense of purpose for writing code. I feel like this is the kind of project that I can contribute code to for many years to come. At the conference, I was reminded of a common Global Health Corps saying: “Once a fellow, always a fellow!”

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New Modalities for Technical Assistance Consulting

Technical assistance (TA) is provided by expert consultants to public health systems projects in order to improve their performance against functional standards or to help solve recurring or one-time problems or issues. Unlike other forms of training or support, TA is usually focused or tailored to a specific circumstance or situation. Common examples of TA include assistance to a jurisdiction in migrating from one product to another, consultation related to a specific programmatic initiative such as school immunization health compliance, EHR interoperability implementation, or data quality review.

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Healthcare's Death Star Thinking vs. Human Centered Design

I missed it when it first came out, but a providential tweet from the always perceptive Steve Downs tipped me to a most interesting article from Jennifer Pahlka with the wonderful title “Death Star Thinking and Government Reform.” The article is not directly related to healthcare, although it does include healthcare examples, but Ms. Pahlka’s central point very much applies to most efforts to reform healthcare: The need to believe that a Death Star-style solution is at hand — that we have analyzed the plans and found the single point of failure — runs deep in our culture.

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Report on the Global OpenMRS Community Meeting in Malawi - Towards Evidence Based Health Service Delivery and Interoperability

One hundred seventy five members of the worldwide OpenMRS community–representing 20 countries–met in Malawi this past December for the 2017 OpenMRS Implementers’ Conference. This event was the second consecutive year a national government sponsored this global meetup, with Uganda hosting and sponsoring this meeting the previous year. The December conference was hosted by Malawi’s Ministry of Health and key-noted by ministry officials and leaders such Maganizo Monawe, Senior HIS Technical Advisor; and Anthony Muyepa, Director General at National Commission for Science and Technology.

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Medicity's CEO's Thoughts on Interoperability

Last week I had the esteemed privilege of attending the EHR Interoperability Meeting at the White House with Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, and Don Rucker MD, National Coordinator at ONC. The attendees represented payer organizations, and the discussion was focused on the barriers to interoperability and how we can band together to overcome them. Below are my responses to the major questions asked of each payer. As you read through this information, I hope it further clarifies our position on these topics.

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The Heritage and Legacy of M (MUMPS) – and the Future of YottaDB

In computing, the term legacy system has come to mean an application or a technology originally crafted decades ago, one important to the success of an enterprise, and which at least some people consider obsolete. But age alone does not make something obsolete – we still read and appreciate Shakespeare a half-millenium after his death, and paper clips from over 100 years ago are still familiar to us today, We must recognize that software is also part of our technical and cultural heritage (see Software Heritage). As in much else in our daily lives, legacy and heritage are intertwined.

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A Better Marketing Plan for Your Open Source Software Project

OSS marketing has evolved since the emergence of OSS in the 1990s and early 2000s. It now includes the community at every step of the life cycle (a fact that shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with open source communities’ expectations for inclusivity). It also outperforms traditional command-and-control approaches to marketing, because it’s built on the strength and reach of project communities. A community that’s bought into a marketing program will generate far more content than a marketing team alone can. We aim here to describe a process for inclusive marketing that any technology marketer can apply to increase impact.

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