Open Source Healthcare at OSCON

July 6, 2012

At the upcoming Open Source Convention (OSCON), we will be presenting the latest status of the Open Source Electronic Health Records Agent (OSEHRA), along with plans for moving forward into its second year.


OSEHRA was created from an the initiative of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a vehicle for building an Open Source ecosystem for supporting and bringing rapid innovation to the Electronic Health Record (EHR) space. Such an ecosystem would be used jointly by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The mission of OSEHRA is:

“to facilitate, through the use of the best practices in open source software development,
the improvement and maintenance of EHR information systems. 
These systems will be freely available for all medical beneficiaries”

The VA has the most successful deployment of an Electronic Health Records system worldwide:

VistA: Veterans Health Information System and Technology Architecture

The PCAST 2010 Report on “Health Information Technology to Improve Health Care for Americans” stated:

“The VHA’s adoption of its VistA system is credited with playing a major role in enabling the Nation’s largest integrated health system to provide a highly regarded level of information technology supporting better care. For example, the use of electronic reminders and performance measurement to improve pneumonia vaccination rates probably saved the lives of 6,000 veterans with emphysema. VHA’s vaccination rate became the national benchmark as pneumonia hospitalizations were halved even while VHA’s patient population doubled—all while reducing taxpayer costs by $40 million. VistA also has enabled the VHA to reduce medication errors to a rate of 7 per million prescriptions written, well below the national average of 1 error in 20.”

OSEHRA has now completed its first year of operation, fostering the growth of an Open Source community. The first year also included other activities, including the deployment of:

Among the many activities that are planned for the second year, OSEHRA will:

  • Engage young developers in Open Source Healthcare projects: doing Meaningful Work!
  • Promote the software tools that enable large-scale collaboration
  • Involve clinical participants to work side-by-side with technologists

If you are enthusiastic about the future of Open Source in Healthcare, please join us in this session (Thursday July 19th), to explore together how we can collaborate on one of the most significant Open Source projects of this decade.

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