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Reflections on the role of open source in health information system interoperability.

Submitted by holger on Tue, 2010/08/17 - 12:15
TitleReflections on the role of open source in health information system interoperability.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSfakianakis, S, Chronaki, CE, Chiarugi, F, Conforti, F, Katehakis, DG
JournalYearbook of medical informatics
Pagination50-60
Date Published2007
Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This paper reflects on the role of open source in health information system interoperability. Open source is a driving force in computer science research and the development of information systems. It facilitates the sharing of information and ideas, enables evolutionary development and open collaborative testing of code, and broadens the adoption of interoperability standards. In health care, information systems have been developed largely ad hoc following proprietary specifications and customized design. However, the wide deployment of integrated services such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs) over regional health information networks (RHINs) relies on interoperability of the underlying information systems and medical devices. METHODS: This reflection is built on the experiences of the PICNIC project that developed shared software infrastructure components in open source for RHINs and the OpenECG network that offers open source components to lower the implementation cost of interoperability standards such as SCP-ECG, in electrocardiography. RESULTS: Open source components implementing standards and a community providing feedback from real-world use are key enablers of health care information system interoperability. CONCLUSIONS: Investing in open source is investing in interoperability and a vital aspect of a long term strategy towards comprehensive health services and clinical research.

Alternate JournalYearb Med Inform
PubMed ID17700904
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