Who will do the open source health IT study?

In practice, studies like this can easily be a political sop. They are easier to bury than your kids' pet goldfish. Had the election turned out differently, that's what likely would have happened, because the previous government was deeply attached to proprietary models.

One of the "easter eggs" placed inside the Obama stimulus is a provision asking that a study be conducted of open source health IT, with a due date of October, 2010.

A number of different bureaucracies are due to contribute -- Defense, HHS, even the FCC -- and by putting representatives of the VA and Indian Affairs they assure that open source is represented.

But there is no assurance here open source will be given a fair shake.

Outfits like Red Hat are very happy over this, but in the long run it's probably more important to companies like Medsphere, which work specifically in the health IT area.

The question of the moment, however, is who will be in charge of the study? Will open source be allowed to shine, or will this study be buried deep within the bureaucracy, and open source with it?

In practice, studies like this can easily be a political sop. They are easier to bury than your kids' pet goldfish. Had the election turned out differently, that's what likely would have happened, because the previous government was deeply attached to proprietary models.

Now there is hope. Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Sibelius is most likely to hand this off to ONCHIT-designate David Blumenthal, and then we shall see.

Meanwhile, if this issue is important to you, make certain the staff of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who sponsored this provision, stays on top of the implementation process. It's his baby, even if it's your job at stake.

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