Java Platform for EHR Enhancements and Mobile Healthcare Apps
In a new white paper entitled “From MUMPS to Java,” Medsphere Systems Corporation provides both explanation and application for a significant technological development. Subtitled “OVID Unleashes Power of Open-source Health IT,” the paper details how the new OpenVista Interface Domain (OVID) leverages the proven power and stability of VistA to facilitate an ecosystem oriented around advancing health IT quickly and affordably.
Medsphere’s OpenVista solution, the industry’s leading open-source electronic health record, is derived from the Veterans Administration’s award-winning VistA EHR system.
“Battle-tested” by the VA, VistA requires configuration and modification training and expertise like any enterprise clinical IT solution. Through the use of OVID, Medsphere repackages OpenVista capabilities as services accessible from Java or other programming languages. OVID effectively opens up a platform on which to build or enhance health IT applications.
“Simply put, OVID pumps VistA-derived systems full of new potential to improve medicine and healthcare delivery,” said white paper co-author Edmund Billings, MD. “Java developers can build on top of OpenVista without having to touch the underlying server code. OVID makes a beloved workhorse cool and frees developers of layered applications from the need to have deep expertise.”
In the paper, Billings and co-author Ben Mehling explain how the new platform effectively extends the power and reach of OpenVista to millions of Java, Web Services and other programmers. Empowered by OVID, these independent developers are free to innovate around the OpenVista platform and create healthcare applications that expand its impact and improve clinical outcomes.
As co-founder of Oceania, Billings helped pioneer the development of electronic medical records. Now, as Medsphere’s chief medical officer and executive vice president for product, he is working to make open-source EHRs a genuine change agent in the ongoing transformation of healthcare.
“The white paper shows how OVID is already extending VistA's power by supporting development of Web-based applications and a more robust collaborative community in the Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem,” added Mehling, director of advanced technology at Medsphere.
“A hundred years ago you had to be a mechanic to drive a car, and now millions of drivers can barely change the oil,” said K.S. Bhaskar, who authored the foreword to the OVID white paper. “OVID makes it unnecessary for application developers to have deep knowledge of either VistA or the M technology platform.” Bhaskar is senior vice president at FIS and manager of GT.M, an open source database engine enabling fully open source VistA deployment stacks; OpenVista deployed on GT.M and Linux is a 100 percent open-source VistA stack.
Mehling, who also directs Medsphere’s Ecosystem, and Bhaskar, co-founder of WorldVistA, a non-profit organization dedicated to VistA, will discuss OVID as part of a panel discussion entitled “Introduction to Open-source VistA EHR” at OSCON 2010 (O’Reilly Open Source Conference), July 22, in Portland, Ore.
Initially released in Spring 2009, OVID has been gaining momentum as Ecosystem members use it to build on OpenVista’s M foundation.
Silicon Valley open-source developer Hugo Troche headed a team that created a mobile application providing direct and secure access to clinical information stored on OpenVista from the Apple iPhone® and iPod® Touch. The application enables clinicians to access relevant patient information, communicate securely with other clinicians and receive alerts from nurses and patient-monitoring systems.
“OVID provides a very easy way to access the OpenVista EHR system,” said Troche. “The burn time to start developing applications is much shorter with OVID, which reduces the complexity of developing applications for OpenVista and other VistA-derived systems by a factor of ten.”
OVID also helps hospitals that are striving to earn stimulus dollars made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). A highlight of the pending federal “meaningful use” definition is the implementation of Continuity of Care Records to digitally report a patient’s clinical status and care plan. OVID automates the generation of CCRs in VistA-based systems and makes them available to medical providers via the Web.
“Sun Microsystems [now Oracle] originally advertised Java as ‘the Esperanto of computer languages,’” noted Mehling. “We won’t be so bold, but we do hope software developers fluent in diverse computing languages see OVID as a translation tool that makes access to the powerful VistA services easy. The goal is to extend benefits to the entire open-source healthcare community, not just OpenVista users.”
Added Billings: “OVID is just the latest example of Medsphere’s continued commitment to advancing the OpenVista community in particular, the open-source healthcare world in general and healthcare delivery overall.”