Open Reveals its True Value

For years, we’ve talked about the value of Open as an approach. A culture. A capability. It’s all very abstract. So how do we know it’s working?

Judging by the response to Allscripts Open App Challenge — Open is working.

Developers are on a mission to improve healthcare. Innovators are solving problems in different areas, such as:

  • Clinical insights, creating clinical alerts
  • Data mining, data analysis
  • Patient connections – not just portals, but helping to build an even closer relationship between physician and patient
  • And of course connecting patient home devices to the physicians clinical systems

We’ll introduce Phase 1 award recipients, selected by our esteemed panel of judges, at HIMSS 2013.

These are crisp examples of the power of Open. Sharing our Application Programming Interface (API) with others has sparked creative solutions to the industry’s most pressing problems. That’s the true value of Open.

Being Open enables Health IT mobility

I’m not the only one who believes that Open is vital to the future of healthcare. In a recent HIMSS webinar about enabling mobility, an internationally recognized enterprise software analyst repeatedly stressed the importance of Open. Shahid Shah, CEO of Netspective Communications, made several points, including:

There won’t be any single device or vendor that can do it all for you. You will be your own systems integrator, so hire the people that can connect systems and Open vendors now. (I would add that part of our job as a Health IT vendor is to make the integration as simple and easy as possible. We don’t need computer science degrees to use an iPhone, and our clients shouldn’t need sophisticated teams to plug in third-party vendor products.)

Data fluidity matters more than ever. Because we have more data available than ever before. Integrated data is the only way to get to ACOs. You need to be able to access your own data.

If you don’t have APIs, you’re stuck in the past. Make sure you have the APIs to make data accessible at the right place and time. Don’t buy from a vendor that doesn’t share its APIs.

Evolve your procurement priorities. Don’t by standalone or hard to integrate solutions. We’re saving people’s lives, and we must have systems that can connect with each other.

We should create more lightweight micro applications. Too much of the healthcare industry relies on heavy formats. We need better diagnosis apps, therapeutic apps and more.  

I agree with Mr. Shah. The sooner we embrace Open as a key capability, the sooner we can revolutionize healthcare.

Where do you see Open working in the healthcare industry?

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About the author

Stanley Crane is Chief Innovation Officer for Allscripts. In his more than 30 years of healthcare and consumer-related software experience, he has led the development of award-winning software programs including electronic health record, electronic prescribing, web-based medication sales, online physician education, resource scheduling, financial systems, materials management, medical translation software and voice recognition dictation systems. Previous to his healthcare experience, Stanley was involved in Silicon Valley, where he held positions with many well-known software companies. As the General Manager of Lotus cc:Mail, he created the first remote mail products. He was also the Vice President of Engineering at WordStar International, and Director of Applications at Ashton-Tate, managing their Macintosh products as well as dBase IV. Before that, Stanley was a founder of two Internet startups – MaxMiles, an automated frequent flier mileage aggregator, for whom he built the first versions of the product; and Shopping@Home, a company that was acquired by Allscripts in 1999 to support medication sales.


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