Summit Highlights Open Source Innovation

Seong K. Mun PhD, President and CEO, OSEHRA opened the 2018 Open Source Summit, July 18-19 in Bethesda Maryland, to showcase how widespread and useful open source code is today and will be in the future.

With almost 200 attendees, the event featured more than 75 presenting organizations, thought leaders, and speakers from around the globe, plus highlighted some of the best open source advancements from the past year.

Ed Simcox, HHS Chief Technology Officer one of the keynoters, presented ideas and information on how HHS has been working to meet the challenges related to laws and regulations that govern the release of data.

He told the attendees, “HHS has made liberating health data a key issue for the agency and has been moving more and more data from HHS vaults to the public and innovators so more information is easily available and accessible.”

He reports, “Today, more and more publicly available data resources are easily findable and accessible through the website at agency promotes the availability of the data to innovators across the country through grassroots meetups, public competitions, and fast pitch sessions given all over the country.

The HHS goal is to unleash the power of private sector innovators and entrepreneurs to use HHS data to create applications, products, services, and features to help improve health and healthcare and help to create jobs of the future.

Simcox explained how the Indian Health Service’s “Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS) is an example of how open source can work successfully in government and in industry.

RPMS, a decentralized integrated solution is able to manage both clinical and administrative information that can stand alone, or function with other components as needed. American Indian, Alaska Native, and private sector health facilities use RPMS every day to manage programs.

RPMS with four main components including hardware, software, network, and databases allows facilities both large and small to work independently and within the larger network of the Indian health system.

As Simcox explained, HHS wants to hear from the public how Open Source Systems can be improved. HHS is open to taking on challenges but selectively determines what fights to fight, uses commercially off-the-shelf products where it makes sense, and focuses on interoperability and value based care.

Keynoter Mike Davis, Director, for the Indian Health Service IT Division, speaking on behalf of Captain Mark Rives, Chief Information Officer and Director for OIT at the IHS, gave an update on how the IHS is dealing with data since the IHS has decade’s worth of data falling under different regulations and tribal law.

Today, the IHS Office of Information Technology (OIT) provides ongoing IT data analysis, reporting, and database support for the National Patient Information Reporting System (NPIRS). NPIRS uses the National Data Warehouse (NDW), the centralized repository for the data collected from federally recognized tribes across the U.S. to produce reports containing a broad range of clinical and administrative information.

One area highlighted at the IHS involves caring for the American Indian and Alaska Native population affected and being treated for diabetes. Last January, the “IHS Diabetes Care and Outcomes Audit” was published.

As explained, “The IHS, Tribal, and Urban healthcare facilities nationwide participate in this auditing process each year by auditing medical records for their patients with diabetes. By reviewing the results of the audits, facilities are able to identify areas for improvement and then implement strategies to provide diabetes patients with the highest quality of care.”


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