Open source sets sights on healing the sick

Open source sets sights on healing the sick

Summary: An open source specialist has launched an international project between national health agencies and government-funded organisations to develop interoperable platforms for electronic healthcare products and services.

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An open source specialist has launched an international project between national health agencies and government-funded organisations to develop interoperable platforms for electronic healthcare products and services.

Open Health Tools (OHT), based in the US, announced its Health Interoperability Framework on Tuesday, which will see the organisation work with international standards bodies, governments and companies from the UK, Australia, Canada and the US to develop common healthcare IT products and services.

According to an official statement, Open Health Tools's mission is to provide software tools and components that will "accelerate the implementation of interoperability platforms responsible for storing and sharing electronic health information".

OHT said the results of its current design and development work will be available under an open-source agreement for IT healthcare professionals in participating countries.

According to the American Institute of Medicine: "Every year at least 98,000 Americans die and millions more are injured as a result of medical errors." OHT's health interoperability framework will aim to address this situation by using standardised, open interfaces and a set of reusable software components that can be assembled into systems and products by health systems and vendors.

"Advancements in medical procedures and patient care have changed the way the world views health and wellness. However, modern healthcare information technology has not kept pace with the complexity of today's healthcare systems. There is a critical need for interoperability between healthcare systems and the consistent and seamless exchange of accurate data," said Skip McGaughey, executive director of OHT.

OHT's development processes and practices are based on open-source specialist Eclipse Foundation's model, and the results of member efforts are being made available under a commercially friendly open-source licence. OHT said it aims to assemble and develop a comprehensive set of tools to enable the development and deployment of EHRs.

OHT said any individual, organisation or hospital can build applications using its framework free of charge. Many of the founding members of the OHT framework have entrusted key interoperability projects to be developed as Charter Projects under the OHT umbrella.

Topics: Open Source, Big Data, Health

Adrian Bridgwater

About Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management.

Adrian is a regular blogger with ZDNet.co.uk covering the application development landscape and the movers, shakers and start-ups that make the industry the vibrant place that it is.

His journalistic creed is to bring forward-thinking, impartial, technology editorial to a professional (and hobbyist) software audience around the world. His mission is to objectively inform, educate and challenge - and through this champion better coding capabilities and ultimately better software engineering.

Adrian has worked as a freelance technology journalist and public relations consultant for over fifteen years. His work has been published in various international publications including the Wall Street Journal, CNET.com, The Register, ComputerWeekly.com, BBC World Service magazines, Web Designer magazine, Silicon.com, the UAE’s Khaleej Times & ITP.net and SYS-CON’s Web Developer’s Journal. He has worked as technology editor for international travel & retail magazines and also produced annual technology industry review features for UK-based publishers ISC. Additionally, he has worked as a telecoms industry analyst for Business Monitor International.

In previous commercially focused roles, Adrian directed publicity work for clients including IBM, Microsoft, Compaq, Intel, Motorola, Computer Associates, Ascom, Infonet and RIM. Adrian has also conducted media training and consultancy programmes for companies including Sony-Ericsson, IBM, RIM and Kingston Technology.

He is also a published travel writer and has lived and worked abroad for 10 years in Tanzania, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy and the United States.

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