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Open source in healthcare

Two posts in one day? I guess when it rains, it pours.

I heard from open-source advocate Fred Trotter today, who pointed me toward this link about how this year’s annual LinuxWorld Conference & Expo will, for the first time, have a day devoted to open-source software in healthcare.

According to Trotter, “This is pretty significant development. It means that you are getting some of the big healthcare companies and the open source revolutionaries together talking.” Medsphere CEO Dr. Ken Kizer, who led the Veterans Health Administration‘s push for automation a decade ago, is keynoting, so I suppose someone is paying attention.

While we’re on the subject of the VA and open-source software, I will mention that yours truly has won an award, or at least a story I wrote won the award for someone else. Great Valley Publishing Co., publisher of For The Record, took a 2006 APEX Award for Publication Excellence for Feature Writing for “Worth the Plunge? A Look Inside CMS’s VistA Office EHR,” which I wrote late last year.

I would like to thank The New York Times for inspiring me to write the story by screwing up so royally by running the headline, “U.S. Will Offer Doctors Free Electronic Records System,” a year ago last week.

July 26, 2006 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Microsoft buys health info aggregator

Microsoft Corp. has taken another big step into healthcare by purchasing Azyxxi health information aggregation software developed for MedStar Health of Columbia, Md.

Under terms of the deal, Craig Feied, M.D., and Fidrik Iskandar—two of Azyxxi’s three creators—and about 40 others from MedStar’s Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., will join a new division within Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group. Washington Hospital Center will become a development laboratory for Microsoft.

Microsoft actually is acquiring Azyxxi from Datomics Licensing and General Datomics, entities started by the software’s developers. MedStar Health was a co-owner of General Datomics. No dollar figure was announced.

First used in Washington Hospital Center’s emergency department 10 years ago, Azyxxi pulls data feeds from dozens of sources and displays the information for clinicians at the point of care. It also stores “all of a patient’s routine clinical information,” according to Microsoft.

“Microsoft sees it as applicable to clincians and integrated delivery networks, not just a hospital system,” Washington Hospital Center ED chair Mark Smith, M.D., said at a press teleconference this morning. Smith, the other Azyxxi creator, will remain at MedStar but serve as clinical liaison to Microsoft for continued product development.

As far as I can tell, this is the first time the world’s largest software company has actually offered a healthcare-specific software package.

In other recent deals, Australia’s National E-Health Transition Authority announced earlier this month that it had purchased a national license for Snomed CT.

I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.