Medsphere's big week

Can Medsphere deliver and scale?

This has been a big week for Medsphere, the commercial VistA implementation that once threatened to expire in open-closed source recriminations.

The move by Sen. Jay Rockefeller to endorse open source for rural hospitals could bring Medsphere dozens of new contracts just as the more general health reform effort makes them more financially viable.

Then Medsphere signed a contract with Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut that could result in big code improvements where the software is applied to mental illness.

Add moves by Democrats last year to incorporate open source in procurement bills and you have an enormous amount of momentum.

Since fewer than 2% of hospitals have a fully-functional Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system in place now, favorable publicity about Medsphere's installation at Midland Memorial Hospital (above) is starting to resonate.

The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report indicates Medsphere has found a sweet spot in the market. Cost-conscious hospitals face a mandate to install EMR systems and here is a vendor promising to do it at one-third the cost.

Now the question becomes, can Medsphere deliver and scale? CEO Mike Doyle says a coming move toward offering SaaS services could allow that. Time will tell whether he is right.

UPDATE: At ZDNet Healthcare I describe how all this momentum may yet be halted.