Throw in a layer of Java and MUMPS, the 40-year old hospital data system now known as M, can be as up-to-date as an iPhone app.
It can make one, too.
That's the view of Medsphere, which sells open source hospital software based on the VistA system first created by the Veterans Administration decades ago.
Medsphere calls its Java layer the Open Vista Interface Domain (OVID) and chief marketing officer Rick Youngchief operating officer Rick Jung told me "this is where the game will be won" over the next year, as hospitals sign contracts for that sweet, sweet stimulus cash.
Chief medical officer Edmund Billings (left) said M is "all over Wall Street," and that since it's a transactional hierarchical data base, not a relational database, it's faster and more efficient. "We can run a hospital on two servers -- one server and one backup."
Billings and Young Jung also discussed the meaningful use criteria with ZDNet, and say that their Continuity of Care Records (CCRs) will help drive the change the Administration is looking for.
In the criteria it says that for every encounter they want the patient to get a clinical summary – tests and allergies and etc. – and a summary of the visit that would have the plan going forward.
How often are you handed that information when you leave a doctor? And they want access to clinically relevant patient education.
If they hand me the paper and post the data to a web site that would be killer, but it's first getting it in hand that's key. Right now you don't have that. That's what they're pressing for. When you give the patient the information they own their care and it improves.
Medsphere can produce CCRs routinely, and as these documents get used the company will be working on case studies proving their value, Young says.
The CCR will be put into a PDF file that can be printed and handed out at the end of a visit, Billings said. "We share PDFs all the time. It bridges the gaps very nicely."
"We'll take our current proven application, but with these iPhone apps and other Web-based extensions," Young Jung concluded. "We'll be looking at never events, matching them with meaningful use, and use a service bureau approach to drive process changes."