As you might know Medfloss.org (formerly medfoss.apfelkraut.org) tries to provide a comprehensive and structured overview of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects for the health care domain.
Medical FLOSS repository at www.medfloss.org
After the initial launch 6 months ago it recently welcomed the 200th project in its repository: the GPL-licensed iDART software – iDART is the abbreviation of “Intelligent Dispensing of Antiretroviral Treatment” and according to its authors addresses many of the challenges faced by public ART dispensing pharmacies in developing countries.
Starting with originally just 120 projects, the medfloss.org database currently holds:
… and much more useful information.
My cordial thanks goes to all the contributors that already made and hopefully will continue to make use of the open content concept by revising/extending existing information or adding new content!
For more information about the site and its objectives please refer to the mission statement or these slides. Beside amendments to the actual content I also highly appreciate any general feedback about the site, offered functionality and shortcomings of it.
Are you a practice, clinic or any other health care institution that is using medical open source software in daily routine? And wasn’t it quite hard for you to find the right software, to get it up and running and to finally customize it to your needs without having any experienced users or reference sites at hand?
Even a high number of downloads or a strong ‘activity percentile’ of an open source software project doesn’t tell you anything about the suitability for your purposes and in general about the stability and efficiency that are required for successful clinical practice.
But what if you could see on a per-project basis at which site it is already deployed and even whom you could contact and ask for advice and personal experiences?
Medfloss.org (formerly medfoss.apfelkraut.org) should provide a comprehensive and structured overview of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects for the health care domain. Moreover it should offer a platform to foster the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences about these projects.
Medical FLOSS Portal at www.medfloss.org
For details about the offered features and services please refer to the Mission Statement.
Just another post about this region, but from a bit different perspective … and this one is meant especially for those who are still thinking that Open Source software in the area of health care is a useless toy for computer fetishists and far from being deployed in a productive clinical environment.
OpenMRS - an Open Source EMR system
Since the beginning of 2003 the Bosten-based Partners in Health (PIH) rolled out a web-based EMR to primarily track HIV patient within Haiti. Meanwhile the system was replaced by the FOSS EMR software OpenMRS and is deployed in 9-10 PIH hospitals spread over Haiti (and by the way more than 20 countries worldwide). Luckily these hospitals are networked via satellite links, so still online after all other systems went down after the earthquake. Only an instance of the system which was used in a now destroyed hospital of the Médicins Sans Frontières directly in Port-au-Prince seems not to be at service anymore.
According to Hamish Fraser, director of informatics and telemedicine for PIH, OpenMRS served before the current crisis more than 14,000 patient records and is now used to “… generate reports for the government and funders and make lab data available to the physicians and medication lists for the pharmacists. We also built a drug supply management tool to track all the medications in our main warehouse and our 10 hospitals.” as Fraser said in an interview with the Healthcare IT News.
Surely FOSS will not play a keyrole in the relief efforts, but still provide considerable means to support medical care for the Haitian people. Also take a look at Fred Trotters article “OpenMRS shines in Haiti” who originally pointed me to this.
PIH welcomes any donations to support their efforts in Haiti.
As freemedsw.apfelkraut.org is now online for more than two years (2nd anniversary 2010/01/12), it is again time for a ranking of the most popular Open Source projects for the health care sector.
Meanwhile more than 130 active projects are listed in 21 categories and I still (!) appreciate your help in case you find a broken link, incorrect information or you just have improvement suggestions. Please send me a message or leave a comment. You can submit change requests or new projects via a form which is available here.
Congratulations to the ClearHealth Inc. and its contributors for the popularity of their project ClearHealth!
I just realized while searching for new or emerging medical open source projects that freshmeat.net looks and works quite differently compared to former times. Seems they launched already in March 2009 their new Freshmeat 3.0 platform.
Now tagging is used for indexing the projects while the categories have been thrown overboard. Regarding medical FOSS the project admins seem not to really make use of this feature. Tags similar to hospital information system, PACS, EMR or patient management have never been used or I was just too dumb to find some health care related ones. Only two projects are tagged with “Medical“, the tag “Medical Science” is associated with 146 projects. One and a half year ago the category “Medical Science Apps” contained 139 projects there.
Phillip Longman recently wrote an interesting article for the Washington Monthly about Obama’s Stimulus Bill and its impact to the implementation of FOSS in the American health care system.
Titled “Code Red – How software companies could screw up Obama’s health care reform” he gives introductorily a short overview about the drawbacks of the current health care system and the idea behind Obama’s Stimulous Bill aka American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
He subsequently provides detailed insights about Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementations across the U.S. in which the adoption of FOSS has considerably increased the quality of care and reduced costs in contrast to proprietary EMR solutions.
His actual point is that the bill and the thereby provided money (about $ 20 billion) is about to be restricted only to proprietary EMR software companies in case their lobbying succeeds.
G. Paré et al. published in Februar 2009 an insightful article about the “Barriers to Open Source Software Adoption in Quebec’s Health Care Organizations” (PDF) in the Journal of Medical Systems. Their abstract reads like this:
“We conducted in-depth interviews with 15 CIOs to identify the principal impediments to adoption of open source software in the Quebec health sector. We found that key factors for not adopting an open source solution were closely linked to the orientations of ministry level policy makers and a seeming lack of information on the part of operational level IT managers concerning commercially oriented open source providers. We use the case of recent changes in the structure of Quebec’s health care organizations and a change in the commercial policies of a key vendor to illustrate our conclusions regarding barriers to adoption of open source products.”
As freemedsw.apfelkraut.org is now online for more than a year (anniversary 2008/01/12), it is time for a first ranking of the most popular Open Source projects for the health care sector.
Meanwhile 115 active projects are listed and I still (!) appreciate your help in case you find a broken link, incorrect information or you just have improvement suggestions. Please send me a message or leave a comment at this post. You can submit change requests or new projects via a form which is available here.
Adoption of FOSS in health care seems to be spreading more and more. Still it is hard to catch sight of some concrete numbers, giving a detailed insight into the actual utilization of FOSS applications in health care.
On the 4th of December the AMIA Open Source Working Group (OS-WG) has released a white paper examining the benefits of FOSS in health care. It is titled “Free and Open Source Software in Healthcare 1.0” and freely available for download. The main author is Ignacio Valdes (chairman of the AMIA OS-WG) who is also the admin of LinuxMedNews.