News articles relating to EMR and technological advances in Health Services.

Canada’s eHealth Software “Tower of Babel”
November 2010 - Canadian Medical Association Journal
"Billions of dollars are being squandered in Canadian purchasing of health software for reasons of industrial policy, which is leading to disastrous technical problems and vast overpayments to technology companies and consultants, critics say.

With governments about to engage in a $20-billion spending spree over the next decade for a national health infostructure, hundreds of Canadian and foreign companies are competing for lucrative deals to sell electronic health information systems promising to connect patients, doctors and hospitals.

But concern is growing that Canada Health Infoway and its provincial counterparts are directing the multi-billion dollar procurement process away from simple solutions based on free “open-source” software towards a multitude of pricier “proprietary-source” software products in order to stimulate Canada’s software industry. ...

Taxpayer-developed open source systems such as OSCAR and VistA have been proven to outperform most proprietary systems, at a tremendous cost savings for taxpayers, Dal Mollin argues. But instead of promoting low-cost open source solutions, Infoway and the provinces have adopted policies formulated to suit “a revolving door of industry consultants who have vested interests in the system being overly-complicated and almost entirely proprietary.”

“As a result, we’re buying a bunch of fully-proprietary systems and trying to glue them together. It’s a tower of Babel,” Dal Mollin charges..."

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Massive Increase in New OSCAR Users
September 2010 - David Daley,
"OSCAR has become the #3 EMR in Ontario within the new OntarioMD funding program.

OSCAR has 14.5% market share of newly funded users, just behind Healthscreen’s 20.3% and Practice Solutions’ 23.5%.

This is a massive increase of new users in Ontario compared to the previous funding program, which OSCAR achieved a 3.4% share of the funded market, and a total overall ranking of #8."

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Ontario researchers tout cheap eHealth alternative
October 2009 - CBC News
"Researchers at Hamilton's McMaster University say they have devised an electronic medical records system that can be implemented by physicians across Ontario for two per cent of the money the provincial government has spent on eHealth Ontario.

The web-based program, dubbed OSCAR, organizes medical records and can be set up on any computer system with a browser. It was first created in 2001, and has attracted more users each year.

Around 600 doctors across the country — including 450 family physicians in Ontario — currently use the software. The software is open-source, which means users are allowed access to its basic code. Users are free to add to or modify the software without fear of legal repercussions, as long they abide by the conditions of the General Public Licence, which stipulates that the program must remain open and sharable.

Because it's open-source, OSCAR is free. The costs to set it up come in the form of servers, hardware and support staff. "In Ontario, there are approximately 8,000 family physicians that are not using electronic medical record systems. All these physicians could have OSCAR implemented within the next 24 months, and the cost would be less than $20 million," Dr. David Price, chair of family medicine at McMaster's medical school, said in a release."

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