Open source and health care reform

The product meets a specific need that has not been met before, but the underlying solution addresses "a problem that exists across all health care," the capture and guiding of data toward a common result.

New Yorker cartoon by Stanley Harris, “Then a miracle occurs”
Computing is said to be the "secret sauce" enabling health care reform.

But after over a year covering the field for ZDNet, I sometimes feel I have been transported to the late 1980s.

There are a host of proprietary, incompatible standards. The leaders in the hospital IT field are archipelagos of information, and woe to the customer who finds gear on the wrong island.

Acesis has found a way forward. Seeking a way to automate the process of peer review, in which outside doctors check cases looking for better ways to do things, CEO Kevin Chesney created a glue to solve even bigger problems.

It's an open source stack. SQL at the bottom, Java in the middle, Adobe Flex in the application, and XML tieing it all together.

The product meets a specific need that has not been met before, but the underlying solution addresses "a problem that exists across all health care," the capture and guiding of data toward a common result.

The profit potential here lies in the fact that reviews aren't just used for best practices but (as the chart shows) to direct reimbursements or, to put it another way, make sure the hospital gets paid.

On my personal blog I have made big assumptions about the implications of all this. The main point is that open source and Internet-based technologies can become the glue that fits all these archipelagos together.

It will take real leadership to make this happen, and create what I call the Health Internet. But the way to do it is now clear.

And with Acesis, we have a proof of concept.