Browsing articles in "Blog"

The e-Patient Rap: “I wanna be an e-Patient”

Jul 23, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Recorded at the first-ever O’Reilly Health Foocamp. @ePatientDave deBronkart, Health IT expert Keith “@motorcycle_guy” Boone and ONC “Consumerista” @Lygeia Riccardi go all-out on their wonderful rap sone “I wanna be an e-Patient”. If you’re a healthcare geek, it’s a must watch!

Open EMR presentation and discussion at Portland Linux User Group

Jun 13, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, Health IT, Healthcare, Open Source  //  No Comments

Tony McCormick, Secretary of the Open EMR Project, and Project manager of their Meaningful Use certification gives an introduction to OpenEMR, maybe the most downloaded open source Electronic Heath Records system in the world.

Tony talks about how OpenEMR, a 10 year old project with ~500,000 lines of code became one of the first PHP projects to become a government certified EHR.

There’s also some great discussion on design and engineering choices which have shaped the project, as well as efforts to move forward with out breaking the existing use. ie: upgrade paths and models, etc. What’s also interesting is the feedback and commentary from the attendees about ways to contribute to the project and to open source health IT.

Federal Health and technology leaders on open standards successes; encouraging health IT entrepreneurs at HIMSS ’11 venture fair

Mar 8, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, Health IT, Healthcare, HIMSS 11, Open Source  //  No Comments

Proclaiming “today is the best time to be a healthcare entrepreneur in America”, Unites States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra stood before a room of health IT and business leaders at the HIMSS 2011 Health IT Venture Fair & Strategic Partner Forum. Kicking off the pre-conference panel of government leaders in health IT, management and policy. Joining Chopra were Peter Levin, CIO of the Veterans Administration, and Farzad Mostashari, MD Deputy National Coordinator of the Office of National Coordinator, the office overseeing technical and policy aspects of US healthcare transformation efforts. The one-day venture forum preceded the HIMSS 2011 Annual Conference & Exposition, and focused on driving healthcare IT related innovation and economic development opportunities in the private sector based on opportunities presented in the HITECH and Affordable Care Acts.

To frame the conversation, Chopra shared examples of recent funding for programs like the national wireless initiative, a $3 billion innovation fund that would spur basic R&D for security and reliability engineering so “wireless communication can be fully leveraged in our healthcare ecosystem.” Chopra said $100 million of that fund is earmarked for healthcare application innovation.

Details were also shared about the Startup America Partnership, an alliance of US entrepreneurs, corporations, foundations, and other private sector leaders working to increase success rates for high-growth enterprises in the U.S. The program was created to support research which shows job growth in the United States is driven entirely by startups.

During the panel session, as well as at many other points during the conference, Chopra outlined the administration’s three-point approach to innovation in Health IT:

  • Enabling a “all hands on deck” strategy for R&D and standards, using a “Government as convener” strategy to inspire different players to offer new products and services.
  • Investment in the “building blocks of innovation” to enable US health IT outpace America’s economic competitors around the world.
  • Enabling market-based innovation, catalyzing entrepreneurship via the Startup America Partnership, and new policy initiatives like simplification of the Research & Experimentation tax credit and the modernization the U.S. Patent Office.

Chopra cited numerous examples as indicators that successful models can be found throughout the healthcare IT space. The NHIN Direct Project which saw dozens of vendors, many of them competitors, working in collaboration with the ONC and each other to establish standards for a simple and secure way to share encrypted health information between parties. The CONNECT project, a reference implementation of these standards being an example of an open source project convened by government and led by the HHS Office of National Coordinator.

Announced in March of 2010, the open collaborative convened and moved quickly to reach consensus on the technical specifications soon after. Within 3 months the first of several firms announced they’d commercialize the spec, The program went live in January of 2011, and as of today over 50 organizations have announced their support of the Direct protocol.

“DC to VC: Investing in Healthcare IT Summit”, which saw participation by the Office of National Coordinator, and companies such as Practice Fusion and Vocera, was also cited as having a positive impact on economic development.

“This will be,” Chopra said, “one of the fastest protocols to go from concept to execution.” To the notion that the public and private sectors continued focus on R&D collaboration and open-standards philosophy, he said, “this is the best time to be an entrepreneur.”

Steve Holden welcomes guests during his Open Bastion launch in Portland Oregon

Mar 2, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, Open Source  //  No Comments

Renown Pythonista, founder of PyCon and Python Foundation board member Steve Holden moves to Portland, Oregon and announces The Open Bastion

On the evening of February 18, 2011, Steve Holden assembled a group of leaders and stakeholders from various communities in the Portland, Oregon open source, technology, government and health IT sectors. Holden, an open source denizen well-known for his leadership within the community of Python open source programming language, assembled the group to announce his newest project, The Open Bastion, and to create more connections, conversation and collaboration amongst the interests represented. The Open Bastion, an attempt to provide a beachhead for open source projects to flourish, basing itself in Portland to leverage the energy and passion of the local open source community as much as to give back to the community which claims Linus Torvalds as one of its own.

While the gathering was a chance for Steve to meet folks in the community and begin connecting the dots amongst the leaders, it was also a call to action and Steve’s chance to test Portland’s cred as the epicenter of the open source technology movement.

For more information visit Steve Holden’s blog, and you can follow him on Twitter as @holdenweb or at @theopenbastion. Also check out a post detailing Steve and the event over at Rick Turoczy’s Silicon Florist blog.

Richard Boyd, Chief Architect for Lockheed Martin Virtual World Labs at HIMSS ’11

Feb 28, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, Health IT, Healthcare, HIMSS 11  //  No Comments

On the last day of 2011 Healthcare Information Systems Society’s Annual Conference & Exhibition, Richard Boyd, Chief Architect for Lockheed Martin Virtual World Labs, a renown expert in virtual reality simulation for computer gaming, defense and film industries, shared his “Simulation Prescription”; showing how gaming and simulation technology have the potential to further revolutionize health care. In particular, Boyd demonstrated several examples of interactive 3D simulation technology which could enhance understanding of complex visualization challenges, and better forecast potential disruptive events.

As one of the creators of the Lockheed Martin Virtual World Labs, Boyd leads a group that utilizes cutting edge gaming and virtual world technologies to improve human performance. Before joining Lockheed, Boyd was the General Manager and VP of Sales for Virtus Corporation, where authors Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton were but a few of the collaborators Boys worked with as their gaming titles pushed the envelope of technology. While this session demonstrated very little in the way of open source technology, it does underscore examples of how technology has the potential to be re-purposed in ways that are not initially intended.

Executive Open Data Roundtable: The State of Open Government GOSCON 2010

Jan 15, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, GOSCON 2010, Government, Open Government, Open Source  //  1 Comment

GOSCON 2010 opened with a general session; “Executive Open Data Roundtable: The State of Open Government“. The Roundtable featured state, city and federal leaders exploring the successes and challenges of the open government directive, including discussion of the successes and challenges launching their Open initiatives, programs influence on state and local government operations, and the role of open source software in executing the programs.

Led by Andy Stein, Director of Information Technology for the City of Newport News, Virginia and perennial GOSCON Committee member, Stein set an “open” stage, inviting attendees to be ready with questions after short introduction by the panelists. In 2008, Stein was appointed as a volunteer Senior Advisor on Open Collaboration to former Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Aneesh Chopra, now CTO of the United States Federal Government. In 2009, Andy was named on the Government Technology list of 2009 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.

Roundtable participants included:

  • Marion Royal, Program Director for, Agency Expert, Office of Citizens Services and Innovative Technology, General Services Administration.
  • Andrew Hoppin, Chief Information Officer, New York State Senate
  • Carolyn Lawson, Dep. Director, Technology Services Governance Division, State of California
  • Dugan Petty, Chief Information Officer, State of Oregon
  • Mark Greinke, Chief Technology Officer, City of Portland, Oregon

Slides for the session can be downloaded here.

Sean McSpaden, Deputy CIO of Oregon State and Deb Bryant discuss the Virtual USA project & open data

Jan 11, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, Crisis Management, GOSCON 2010, Government, Interviews  //  1 Comment

Sean McSpaden, Oregon State Deputy CIO, spoke with Deb Bryant, GOSCON conference Chair and Public Sector Communities Manager from Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab. McSpaden was attending the 2010 Government Open Source Conference.

Bryant initially asked about the state of the Virtual USA Program and the Oregon’s participation in the program. McSpaden detailed its evolution, from a collaboration between the State of Alabama’s Virtual Alabama Project and Virginia’s VIPER project to the eventual creation of a consortium of States, first in the Southeast and then in the Pacific Northwest. The consortium has been coordinated byDepartment of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate Command, Control & Interoperability Division. The overall project is intended to create a common operating picture for emergency response by enabling the sharing of information across multiple agencies and even multiple states. McSpaden went on to say that the system proved useful during the Gulf oil spill thanks to its basis on open standards, allowing BP, Walmart, as well as other responders to effectively operate their respective portions of the response effort.

While the platform and system underlying the several state capabilities developed via Virtual USA program are proprietary, McSpaden did say that there was an attempt to adopt some of the hallmarks of an open source project. A focus on interoperability, permitting code sharing and utilization of open data standards are just a few points that McSpaden mentions. McSpaden says for example, the work on Virginia’s VIPER system was done for hire by a contractor with expertise in Adobe Flex and ESRI software. However, one of the main requirements was that Virtual USA must support users in a multi-viewer environment, allowing for consumption of data in users own systems.

McSpaden also shared details of Oregon’s open data initiative on site. McSpaden explained that they planned to leverage partnerships with agencies like Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality as well as the Oregon Department of Transportation, and said that their approach was to permit a “wide and varied focus of interest” on the types of data state Oregon agencies bring to the table. “We want to mash it with our Geospatial holdings”, McSpaden said. Contrary to the opinions of some civic application developers and enthusiasts who are using these raw data sets to build “civic applications”, McSpaden asserted that Oregon is working to provide the information as continuously available open data services to its consumers, not as data sets to be repetitively downloaded by interested parties.

UPDATE: We thank Mr. McSpaden for contacting us with clarifications to the facts presented, and those corrections have been incorporated.

John Weathersby of OSSI with Nate DiNiro of OpenAffairs.TV

Jan 6, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, GOSCON 2010, Interviews, Military, Open Source  //  No Comments
John Weathersby, Executive Director of Open Source Software Institute joins Nate DiNiro to share some of the details about the mission of his organization, which is to promote the adoption of open source in federal, state and local government. OSSI helps government stakeholders identify and facilitate open source software solutions as a viable business opportunity. While most of OSSI’s experience is in defense and the intelligence community, with recent growth in Homeland Security, John shares an example of a situation where the Government was able to spin out the IP of a Federal workflow management system, known as the “Open Source Corporate Management Information System”, and successfully structure the legal status to create a open source project which can benefit other agencies and safe government dollars.

John Scott (@johnmscott) discusses OSS in the Military with Deb Bryant

Jan 6, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, GOSCON 2010, Interviews, Military, Open Source  //  1 Comment

John Scott, Director of Open Source Software and Open Integration at RadientBlue Technologies, joined Deb Bryant of Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab to discuss how open source software and development approaches are used in the US Department of Defense.

John is well known for his work for the DoD on the groundbreaking “Open Technology Development Roadmap“. Published in April of 2006, the document examines opportunities that DoD could exploit to improve technology outcomes and lower costs, largely addressing the change in culture and practices that DoD would need to undertake to take advantage of OSS in the US Military. Scott also participates deeply in the Military Open source community, managing the Mil-OSS Google Group and organizing events including the Mil-OSS conference & unconference. Information can be found at

In the interview, Scott talks about recent news about OSS throughout the DOD. He shares news of a recent policy memo issued but the DoD CIO, recognizing open source software and participation in open source communities and projects as being officially permitted by the US Department of Defense. He also shares news of a forthcoming DoD open technology “field manual”, addressing needs throughout the DoD to understand how to utilize open source on a military project. Scott also mentions some military software projects that have been released to the world as open source projects. He talks about the growth of geospatial OSS and he specifically mentions FalconView, a route planning & spatial analysis system used by the Marines for route planning. Scott also credits the rest of the US Federal Government for adopting more open source software, especially state and local government where lots of discussion are happening.

Thanks to John for joining us. His blog can be found at

David Riley on the landscape of the CONNECT initiative

Jan 3, 2011   //   by Nate DiNiro   //   Blog, GOSCON 2010, Government, Health IT, Healthcare, Interviews, Open Source  //  No Comments

In addition to his 2010 Government Open Source Conference keynote, David Riley joined us at the conference to talk about details of the CONNECT initiative, with health IT expert and OATV co-founder Jeremy Murtishaw. David outlines the basics of the project, as well as it’s acceptance in the health IT community. He also addresses the structure, the security architecture as well as detailing about how health information exchange happens in detail.