ENTRIES TAGGED "health IT"
New report covers areas of innovation and their difficulties
O’Reilly recently released a report I wrote called The Information Technology Fix for Health: Barriers and Pathways to the Use of Information Technology for Better Health Care. Along with our book Hacking Healthcare, I hope this report helps programmers who are curious about Health IT see what they need to learn and what they in turn can contribute to the field.
Computers in health are a potentially lucrative domain, to be sure, given a health care system through which $2.8 trillion, or $8.915 per person, passes through each year in the US alone. Interest by venture capitalists ebbs and flows, but the impetus to creative technological hacking is strong, as shown by the large number of challenges run by governments, pharmaceutical companies, insurers, and others.
Some things you should consider doing include:
- Join open source projects
- Numerous projects to collect and process health data are being conducted as free software; find one that raises your heartbeat and contribute. For instance, the most respected health care system in the country, VistA from the Department of Veterans Affairs, has new leadership in OSEHRA, which is trying to create a community of vendors and volunteers. You don’t need to understand the oddities of the MUMPS language on which VistA is based to contribute, although I believe some knowledge of the underlying database would be useful. But there are plenty of other projects too, such as the OpenMRS electronic record system and the projects that cooperate under the aegis of Open Health Tools.
Health care track draws a small and passionate core
There has been enormous talk over the past few years of open data and what it can do for society, but proponents have largely come to admit: data is not democratizing in itself. This topic is hotly debated, and a nice summary of the viewpoints is available in this PDF containing articles by noted experts. At the Open Source convention last week, I thought a lot about the democratizing potential of data and how it could be realized.
Complex health problems are too big for a single team.
A conversation with Sage Bionetworks founder Stephen Friend about how open source can support a business model in drug development, the progress of current data sharing projects, and more.
It's time to recognize and appreciate highly engineered health information systems.
Clinicians often encounter multi-step software processes that seem laborious. Sometimes that's due to a design flaw, but other times that process has been intentionally constructed as a crumple zone.
Developers can make money writing code that makes patients safer.
Working on software that addresses patient safety issues is one of the few ways that a software developer can impact quality of life rather than convenience of life. Health contests are fun enough that you might even forget that you're changing the world.
The history and accomplishments attributed to VistA, the Veterans
Administration's core administrative software, mark it as one of the
most impressive software projects in history. Still, lots of smart
people in the health care field deprecate VistA and cast doubt that it
could ever be widely adopted.
This week saw the release of the final "meaningful use" criteria for the adoption of electronic health records by doctors' offices and hospitals. The catch is that they can't just install the electronic system, but have to demonstrate that they're using it in ways that will improve patient care, reduce costs, allow different providers to securely share data, and provide data to government researchers in order to find better ways to care for patients.
Fred Trotter on how open source and health IT are working together.
Fred Trotter, a longtime developer in the open source healthcare world and a speaker at next month's OSCON conference, discusses the history of open source and health IT in this podcast interview.
Apache co-founder Brian Behlendorf discusses the CONNECT health data project.
In this podcast interview, Apache co-founder Brian Behlendorf discusses the CONNECT project and the role data can play in improving patient care and the medical system.
NASA's Chris Mattmann discusses object-oriented data and health IT.
In this podcast, Chris Mattmann, a senior computer scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, discusses objected-oriented data technology (OODT) and health IT.