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Ready for Primetime?

July 21, 2009
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For at least a year now, there has been chatter around the HIT industry about the potential of open-source software - specifically the VA's VistA applications, which were developed over many years with billions of taxpayer dollars. Some open-source proponents say the disks are the key to healthcare being affordable on Main Street, while others claim the associated costs more than cancel out the benefits. Does open-source software have the potential to change the game? Our cover story, “The Potential of Open Source,” page 32, looks at the best way for healthcare organizations to harness the power of this not-so-secret code, and why some industry skeptics that say it will never be ready for primetime.

The recent outbreak of the H1N1 (swine) flu virus - and the media frenzy that accompanied it - took hospitals by storm, and admissions and EDs felt the pain as patients overcrowded and overburdened hospitals. For many organizations, it was an important learning experience. In “Be Prepared,” page 21, read how hospital executives were forced to take quick actions, and find out what they learned in the process. We talk to leaders implementing systems that are designed to enable hospital staff to quickly gather data, identify trends, and report back to both the patient community and public health agencies in the event of an outbreak.

According to a new report from KLAS, pharmacy software earns the lowest satisfaction ratings of any area measured. Why is that? Though best-of-breed pharmacy systems can often deliver an excellent product, is integration with a separate core clinical just too difficult? In “The Field Narrows,” page 14, HCI talks to CIOs on both sides of the fence, and finds out why some feel their core vendor's pharmacy system is the only way to go.

Healthcare Informatics 2009 August;26(8):10

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