Meeting Patient Safety

Today, I met with a tremendous number of patient safety advocates at IHI. My work with Cautious Patient Foundation centers around patient safety. But I have, up until now, not met very many Patient Safety advocates in person.

That all changed today. I was introduced to forty of them at once.

Frankly, it was heart-wrenching. Credentials for patient advocates in the patient safety community are not M.D., or R.N. or PhD.

Credentials read: lost son to MRSA infection, infected with flesh-eating bacteria due to unsafe surgical conditions, child brain-damaged from new-born jaundice, spouse lost to multiple medical errors.

These people have paid dearly for their credentials. It was moving to hear the introductions, and you can share in the experience. Paul Levy (yes that Paul Levy) diligently tweeted about many of the introductions. That is not the only record kept of this morning. Regina Holliday (yes that Regina Holliday) was doing one of her paintings for the morning. I hope to get some more info on this soon!!

Overall it was a humbling experience. I have been with e-patients before, but often, e-patient stories are uplifting, they have both tragedy and triumph. With these e-patients, the triumph is often that they can talk about their loved one coherently without weeping. Almost everyone, (including me) in the room was probably dealing with mild to severe PTSD in one way or another. Most of us were high functioning, but many of us were still very very angry. And when you heard the details, it was hard to say that bitterness or anger were not entirely appropriate. These people are justifiably furious.

I already have 10 new ideas for good software projects.


Halamka on Open Source Healthcare

John Halamka is a pretty important blogger and policy maker. He is a fan of Open Source and has been positive about it for years. He even let me write a guest post on his blog about it.

John Williams sent me a link for the recorded audio and slides of his recent talk at Open Your World Forum

He discusses just how prevalent the notions of Open Source and open data standards are already in the coming ARRA-based Health Informatics world. He even hones in on critical problems like the proprietary CPT codebase.

He also gives compelling clues about how critical Red Hat servers are in his environment, and how Linux and other platform level Open Source has been well-adopted.


Open Source at HIMSS 2010

I wanted to create a post for those interested in Open Source at HIMSS. I am out of the country, (Finland is so much warmer today at 0 deg Celsius) , so I cannot make it.
So far I know that

Alesha Adamson (MOSS) and Skip McGaughey (OHT) are speaking at the DSS educational session, and

Brian Behlendorf is speaking about CONNECT.

Brian wrote to also remind me…

Tell folks to come to the “interoperability showcase” in exhibit hall C, in particular to the NHIN and Connect area, where we are presenting on Connect with 60 other partners (most non-Fed) who have piloted or set up exhanges with NHIN standards, most of them with Connect, many of them by integrating with other Open Source med software.

CDC has a talk on the Biosense project.

I wish I could see those talks.

You should stop by booth 233 at the Interoperability Showcase and see MOSS demonstrate OpenPIXPDQ, OpenXDS and OpenATNA. MOSS also has a regular vendor booth numbered 7470.  DSS is at booth 2521. PatientOS is at booth 4124 with orange shirts and lunch bags…

Medsphere and ClearHealth abstain this year (I think). I know the Mirth guys are around too.. If you are there and want to get ahold of them, send me a mail and I will do my best to get an introduction…

There was a code drop for a population health tool.

If you are at HIMSS 2010 and care about Open Source, let me know… I would be happy to add you to this post..


Open Source Health Software Conference

So I have two small news items.

First, I am renaming the yearly Houston Open Source Conference from fosshealth to OSHealthCon, which just stands for Open Source Health Software Conference. Why the name change? Well, it is caused by the need for me to distance myself from the term “free”. I know what “free” means when you are talking about software, but again and again, the term is abused by people with a proprietary agenda.

People would talk about the differences between “free software” vs “commercial software” implicitly insulting any professional who wants to use freedom-respecting licenses.So I am throwing in the towel. I am not going to fight this battle any more. At some point, I have to decide if I am going to advocate for freedom, or for one particular way of talking about freedom.

The other important news item is that I have started posting the 09 Videos up to

This is our first stab at videoing our own conference, and the results are just as amateurish as you might expect. Still, if you can tolerate the sound, there is a tremendous amount of insight available there.

I will be posting new videos there as I sort out how to make transcoding work on GNU/Linux.