Government Saves Lives with Free Software

The government gets free software: nurses at VA hospitals have been using and developing VISTA: the open source medical records system for vets Photo credit: US Army

Graduated from college at the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors of Science in Information Science ten years ago. It would not have been possible without my mother, Susan Rose. Mom is a Registered Nurse for the Veterans Administration who worked at the VA near campus when I was at school. Since I was an only child of a single mom, we did not have all of the advantages of many of my classmates. When I learned that Linux was Free in 1999 it was very attractive self-driven academic experience for my young mind. I worked all summer to get enough money for my own Red Hat Linux desktop.


Mom did not understand what I was up to with open source.
I did not understand what she was up to with open source.


At VA Hospitals nationwide, the government was deploying VISTA. No, not Microsoft Windows Vista, VISTA – the open source medical records system. It keeps track of all of information concerning a patient’s care – no matter where in the country they go. Medications, pharmacies, doctor visits, dates, diagnosis.. it is all there. Nurses recommended that VISTA work with scan-able wrist bands. Now patients’ wrists are scanned prior to medicating and procedures with immediate feedback for the medical professionals who are providing the care as the care is administered. It saves lives and the government money. This is change that I can believe in.


The change to open source nation-wide medical records can happen and is happening today. The US government is providing up to $64,000 for providers who successfully implement electronic medical records. While there are many most with commercial support, there are proprietary vendors who are interested in this business. With open source, medical records can remain available to the health care provider without paying yearly subscription fees. Proprietary software though, may entail vendor-lock-in contracts prohibiting your health care provider from moving to another system or other health providers in charge of your care.


At the Ohio LinuxFest, mom will chair
a two-day track to discuss medicine in open source with an emphasis on medical records on September 10 and 11. Here we will reach out to health care administrators, nurses, doctors, patients, concerned family members of those who require constant care, taxpayers, open source programmers, and anyone else who cares about the future of health care with Free Software.


Friday kicks off with opensource.com writer and Red Hat employee, Ruth Suehle, who will discuss medical innovations around the world. It will be followed by Susan Rose MSN RN-BC (that’s my mom) talking about Electronic Medical Revolution. There will also be a free workshop from Dr.David Chan on OSCAR, the open source medical records system deployed through all Canada and world wide. Medical professionals who attend on Friday September 10 can obtain Free CEU’s upon request.


The discussion on medical records will continue with Dr. Chan of OSCAR, Fred Trotter of linuxmednews.com, Dr. Budman, MD, MBA of MedSphere on Saturday September 11. Ohio citizens can learn more on how electronic medical records are being deployed in their state with Amy Andres of the Health Information Exchange.


Other Saturday topics include will be a tele-medicine applications with talks from Dr. Barbash and Dr. Magee. These innovations will help patients to integrate health care to their every day lives – at home.

Closing will be a panel on how to choose open source products so that they qualify for “Meaningful Use” government funding.


If you care about more efficient and better health care for you, your family, and your medical practitioners, consider the Ohio LinuxFest Medical Track. That’s my idea of Free Healthcare.


Print off this flier to show anyone involved in your health care.


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One Response to Government Saves Lives with Free Software

  1. Pingback: Links 29/8/2010: GNU/Linux Jobs Demand, Archos 7 | Techrights UNITED STATES WordPress

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