Healthcare Pros Heed the Call of Open Source Groups

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 08, 2008

If you're involved in healthcare IT and also have a fondness for open source, there's a newly formed group at LinkedIn that you may want to know about. The OpenVista Health Information Technology (HIT) group is looking for healthcare professionals who use the popular electronic medical record system and want to swap implementation and deployment ideas.

Founded by Albert Gnandt, a senior software engineer at Medsphere, this niche LinkedIn group is "for professionals that promote OpenVista and VistA-based systems to build a network that connects people, opportunities and ideas."

President-Elect Barack Obama outlined his plans this weekend for stimulating the economy with a five-step plan that includes a focus on putting medical records online. As ZDnet's Dana Blankenhorn points out, "There is an enormous incentive for those involved in open source healthcare IT to organize now. Decisions are about to be made that will either throw wide the door to open source in healthcare or, potentially, shut it for all time."

Of course, the OpenVista HIT group -- whose focus is on software from a particular vendor -- isn't the only game in town. The Open Healthcare Group rallies behind the open source health care record system XChart as the definitive method for automating and streamlining medical record-keeping, while the Open Source Health Care Alliance takes a macro approach to promoting the use of free and open source software in healthcare.

No matter which group or groups you choose to support, if you're a healthcare professional or IT guru in the medical industry you'll want to strongly consider what you can do to help these organizations. As Blankenhorn so aptly puts it, "Now, in other words, is time for all good men (and women) in healthcare IT to come to the aid of the open source party."