There are some key differences between the two announcements:
- Medsphere specializes in hospital IT, Misys in medical office software.
- Medsphere began as an open source project, based on the VA's VistA software. Misys heretofore has been proprietary.
The New York Times launched a debate into the proper approach following the Misys announcement. Gartner analyst Wes Rishel compared this to many other open source efforts, failed proprietary products throwing a hail mary at the market, and suggested software as a service is the right approach.
Ironically, new Medsphere CEO Michael J. Doyle came from a Software as a Service background.
Conveniently AthenaHealth CEO Jonathan Bush, a SaaS vendor, dropped by Times writer Steve Lohr's desk shortly after he spoke with Rishel.
Personally I suspect both approaches hold some validity. Open source can lead to open standards, which is what we really want, so all medical software can work together. Doctors are not computer programmers, nor should they be expected to become programmers, so SaaS will hold attraction for many.
But most medical offices are also attached in some way to larger hospitals, where the doctors hold privileges, and it is the decisions of these hospitals which usually control automation. If they say, "Get XYZ Proprietary now" it shall be done.
It doesn't matter if there are good SaaS or open source or open standards offerings out there. If the guy above you says jump, you jump.