As meaningful use and the various components of the Affordable Care Act begin to activate, medical professionals and facilities are beginning to face the same proprietary vs. open source choice that many other IT operations have faced over the years.
As you all know, there are benefits and disadvantages to each.
Proprietary systems are often accompanied by considerable support and hand-holding from their vendors and are often "product managed" so all the various elements fit together smoothly. But they can often be expensive and may result in lock-in.
Open source systems don't suffer from lock-in and are often free, but they often don't come with support, documentation, or a coherent product strategy. While open source products often work as well as (and sometimes better than) proprietary systems, they tend to be more quirky and require more hands-on time and expertise.
But, for some practices and facilities, particularly those who are nonprofit or public service facilities on a budget, commercial EHR systems may simply be way out of reach financially.
As it turns out, open source EHR is on the rise. What follow are two videos from Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They're long, in-depth, and quite fascinating. If you're interested in implementing a powerful EHR environment but don't want to pay commercial prices, these are must-watch videos.