IBM Contributes Medical Records Software to Open Source
Published: August 15, 2006
by Alex Woodie
IBM announced last week that it's made a "major step" in the move to a national electronic medical records system by contributing to the open source community software technology that supports the exchange of healthcare information.
The technology at issue is a key piece of software that IBM says will allow software developers to connect isolated "islands" of information to any Health Information Exchange (HIE), including IBM's own HIE. IBM contributed the source code of this technology to the Eclipse Foundation's Open Healthcare Framework (OHF). The technology is now available to any ISV that wants to use it.
"By making the client-side components of our HIE technology available through OHF, we hope to help solve this problem by providing an easy and affordable way for ISVs to connect their applications to any HIE, where medical data can be accessed and integrated as if stored in a single repository," says Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM's healthcare and life sciences group. "As a result of this patient-centric systems approach, clinicians will be able to access health records from virtually any medical IT system, regardless of where the information resides."
Grahame Grieve, project leader of the Eclipse OHF project, predicts the move will stem changes in the healthcare industry. "The availability of a lightweight, open source framework will allow eHealth Record (eHR) vendors and other open source eHR efforts to build and test standards-based solutions for interoperability," he says.
IBM also announced that IBM Research has established new Innovation Centers for the healthcare and life sciences disciplines at several of its labs, including Almaden, California; Watson, New York; Haifa, Israel, and Zurich, Switzerland.