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OpenHealth, Belfast – morning keynotes January 21, 2010

Posted by peterjmurray in conference, Europe, health informatics.
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The first keynote talk of the morning session is from Joseph dal Molin, on “Open and connected health: a North American perspective – it’s time for the new paradigm”. Joseph is President of e-cology corporation and Director of WorldVista (http://www.worldvista.org/); he is also adviser to the Jordanian government on EHR implementation using Vista. Joseph began by saying that an open and connected health model is a patient-centric ecosystem; there is a great deal of complexity that must be taken into account; holistic perspective is needed, and all domains affecting care must be taken into account. A simple industrial model does not work; much of current health system is based in silos of information etc.

Joseph says that the US VA ecosystem delivers high quality care, and is very cost-effective; number of veterans treated from 1996 to 2003 rose by 75% (with increasing complexity of care), but the budget only rose by 32% in total over that period. Barcode medication administration has virtually eliminated medication errors in their system, and there have been many other high standards in quality indicator achievement. In most other places, legacy software industry models (based in proprietary systems) have failed to deliver, he says – reinventing the wheel is a pandemic.

Joseph outlined a summary of the open source development model, and likened it to the cycle of evidence-based medicine leading to exploration and improvement of the software. Among open source applications used in health in North America are VistA, OSCAR as EHR solutions; Indivo and MyOSCAR as personally controlled health records; NHIN CONNECT Gateway in USA is an open source project, sponsored by US Health and Human Services Department; Open Health Tools (http://www.openhealthtools.org/). But, he says, open isn’t enough, and semantic interoperability is needed, and is essential for comparability of data. Costs are often a barrier here at present, but there are open source terminology projects seeking to address the issues.

Challenges for open connected health include governments not knowing how to accept free software, not invented here syndromes, procurement processes being based in expensive proprietary software and being hindrances to innovation.

The second keynote presentation of the morning is from Gerald Hurl, from the Health Services Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland, and chair of Health Informatics Society of Ireland (HISI) talking on ‘Delivering connected health in a national context’. Gerald began with an overview of the changes in delivery of health and social care in Ireland, and intentions to move from episodic to holistic care, with the implications for where health service staff may work in the shift from institutional to community-based health and social care services. This has implications for ICT, if services are integrated around the patient, and requires a focus on connectivity and connected health. The new ICT strategy reflects this new model/paradigm of care. But a key challenge will be the lack of ICT staff with the domain knowledge and expertise to support the delivery of the necessary ICT.


OpenHealth conference; Belfast, January 2010 January 21, 2010

Posted by peterjmurray in conference, Europe, health informatics.
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Peter is at the OpenHealth conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland today, and will be doing some blogging and tweeting (search for #openhealth on Twitter). Information on the event is at www.openisland.net It is being held at the Spires Centre and the Europa Hotel today, and tomorrow’s linked event will be at the University of Ulster Jordanstown Campus.

Today’s event is  a one day free conference on open and connected technologies / services solutions for healthcare and the issues surrounding them, and also includes the official launch of BCS Health Northern Ireland – a new forum for knowledge sharing in Health Informatics & Connected Health in Northern Ireland. The current interim committee for BCS Health NI also includes Jonathan as secretary, and Paul Comac as Treasurer.

Jonathan Wallace opened the event and will chair today’s conference. The first speaker is Prof. Roy Harper, chair of BCS Health Northern Ireland, who outlined the aims of the group, and the wish to be open and inclusive as far as membership of the group – www.bcs.org/health/ni

Jean Roberts followed Roy to give a formal welcome from BCS and introduction, including formal greetings from BCS President Elizabeth Sparrow.

MIE2009 – open source workshop August 31, 2009

Posted by peterjmurray in conference, EFMI, Europe.
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I am in the workshop that I submitted, and we are running, titled ‘Open source and healthcare in Europe – time to put leading edge ideas into practice’. Helen Betts is chairing the session, and gave the introductions. I cannot blog and tweet while I am talking, so summary of my contributions will be post hoc – but I will try and cover the rest of the workshop.

I gave an overview of the Open Steps meetings held in 2004 and the EFMI STC 2008 meeting – see http://bit.ly/bq0TZ for Open Steps report and my slides at slideshare – http://www.slideshare.net/drpeter/open-source-workshop-mie2009-1930491

Anze Droljc from Slovenia gave a presentation on developing open source solutions in breast screening programmes. He gave an overview of Drools, a business management rule engine, and then went on to describe how the data to support the breast screening programme are captured in the central repository and are shared. They have developed an end-user application that does not need use of a mouse, but is keyboard-driven. The system being developed allows interaction of open source and proprietary applications. It seems that only open source tools are being used, and the actual solution being developed is not open source, but is proprietary.

Thomas Karopka, the new chair of the EFMI Libre/free and open source working group, talked about “Building the FLOSS-HC Community – a strategy for the advancement of FLOSS in health care”. He presented some ideas, for further discussion. He began with presenting the free software (http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-sw.html) and open source initiative definitions, and the differences between them. Thomas feels that open source has made quite a lot of progress in recent years. He covered a number of issues that might be influencing the uptake, or not, of FLOSS in healthcare – including lack of professional support for products, concerns over quality of software, sustainability concerns, and whether there is anyone to sue if things go wrong.

Thomas identified four steps to discuss that might be useful:

1. need for a dedicated FLOSS healthcare inventory to gather together a comprehensive list of FLOSS healthcare products and projects;

2. development of a collaboration platform, that might include software repository, use case database and FLOSS healthcare knowledge base;

3. setting up a ‘network of networks’ to link the various FLOSS WGs and foster collaboration between different projects and networks; and

4.developing FLOSS dissemination activities.

The latter part of session will be a business meeting of the EFMI LIFOSS WG; a report on this will be given later.