Feds take health care open source

The "Connect" project uses open source to tie participants like the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments into the U.S. national health information network

President Obama has made transparency a hallmark of his presidency, with open source an integral part of this pledge. Obama has also expressed a desire to overhaul the U.S. health care system.

This week those two goals came together this week in Connect, "a(n open-source) gateway between multiple federal organizations and the proposed national health information network," according to Modern Healthcare.

The goal is to reduce the cost and complexity of tying into the U.S. national health information network, with three of the largest federal health care provider organizations, Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, plus the Indian Health Service, each participating in Connect. Connect will "tie together health information exchanges, integrated delivery networks, pharmacies, government health facilities and payors, labs, providers, private payors and other stakeholders into a 'network of networks,'" according to the project site.

Very ambitious, and dearly needed, given the myriad of silo-ed data sources in health care today.

The U.S. federal government has been actively consuming open source for years, but only recently has it actively sought to improve efficiency and lower costs by releasing open-source projects like those housed on the Department of Defense's Forge.mil site.

The times they are a changin'.

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.

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