Will Kolodner lead industry toward open source?

Kolodner has a reputation of being independent of big vendors and friendly to open source. Open source advocates can be confident he will give their ideas a hearing. The standards for EHR look to be open.

Robert Kolodner, National Coordinator for Health Information TechnologyRobert Kolodner, a long-time IT leader for the Veterans Administration, is going to be the key man in bringing about a national system of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). (Picture from the AARP.)

Kolodner, whose present title is National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, will also coordinate federal input into AHIC Successor, the public-private partnership which aims to create EHR standards.

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and VA Secretary James Peake are also listed as federal liaisons with AHIC Successor, but both are political appointees who will likely be replaced next year. Kolodner is a career employee.

The AHIC Successor board consists of IT leaders with hospitals, drug companies and public interest groups, rather than vendors.

This means a man with extensive open source experience is going to be on the government side of the move toward EHR standards, dramatically increasing the chances open source solutions will get a fair hearing.

As Chief Informatics Officer for the VA Kolodner was heavily involved in oversight of VistA, a public record software system with an extensive open source following.

He also helped create the My HealtheVet Internet portal so veterans could get help online.

This is really big news. Kolodner has a reputation of being independent of big vendors and friendly to open source. Open source advocates can be confident he will give their ideas a hearing.

The standards for EHR look to be open.

One more important point about acronyms. An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is the record your doctor has about you. A Personal Health Record (PHR) is the copy you control. An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) combines what all doctors have on you into a single electronic file.

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