Medsphere CEO highlights benefits of open-source Ecosystem EHR

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Medsphere Systems unveiled a broad healthcare IT community initiative, called the Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem, that is focused on improving healthcare around its OpenVista EHR at the 2008 HIMSS conference in Orlando, Fla.

Currently, “healthcare IT is not collaborative; it’s a bunch of siloed information with many big vendors, where data is neither transparent nor shared. As a result, patient care is compromised through the clinical systems that are in place. We’re hoping to change that model through OpenVista. We give our clients the source code. The data is completely transparent. Also, the facility doesn’t have to use our clinical system. We interoperate with any system that the hospital chooses and any application that they want to keep in place,” Michael J. Doyle, CEO of Medsphere told Health Imaging News.     

As a result of the open-source system, the physicians don’t have a large adoption curve, Doyle said. He added that the physicians are now armed with the real-time clinical information that helps him/her to make a good clinical decision about the outcome of a particular patient. “For the first time, the clinical information mirrors the way that medicine is practiced,” Doyle said. “The physician remains the ultimate decision-maker, but now he is armed with better information,” he added.

There is a business risk to the Medsphere approach “because if we don’t provide value for our customers, they could go elsewhere. It’s not the traditional healthcare IT approach, where you lock a customer into your product for ten years. However, we don’t think they will [go elsewhere] because not only do we have a software solution that makes a lot of sense, but we also have a knowledge base as well,” Doyle noted.

“So many facilities are sick of being locked into one given vendor, and being tied into that company’s development cycle for whatever functionality they can expect down the road. Being part and parcel of what Medsphere is building in our Ecosystem, our customers would not only benefit from our developments, but also benefit from any developments our partners and clients make,” Richard Jung, chief operating officer at Medsphere told Health Imaging News.   

For example, at HIMSS08, Medsphere announced a partnership with Tolven Healthcare Innovations, which will coordinate the ongoing efforts of the two open-source entities with the intention of improving healthcare by developing clinical and administrative tools.

Doyle said Medsphere looked to other industries as a source for the development of this open-source model in the healthcare environment, which is typically 10-15 years behind other industries. However, Doyle pointed out that if this model proves successful, it could serve as a model for the proper way that healthcare is deployed and operated going forward.

“Our eventual goal is to foster a worldwide ecosystem of software vendors, IT programmers, system integrators, consultants, trainers, clinicians all working together around best practices, knowledge repository, good clinical outcomes all for the betterment of patient care,” Doyle concluded.