Forum OpenACS Q&A: Healthcare and OpenACS

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Posted by Stan Kaufman on
Carl Robert Blesius, Buddy Dennis, and I were at the American Medical Informatics Association meeting this past week (great to meet you both finally in person!), and I'd like to post up here a few observations from our interesting conversations:

  • Complex healthcare apps (clinical trials management tools, medical records apps, on-call check-out apps, medical education stuff, etc) benefit more from the integrated datamodel, testable infrastructure, robust permissions model, etc of OpenACS than the blog-and-photos sites for which people are rushing to Ruby-on-Rails.

  • The OpenACS community has a significant number of people involved in healthcare. Carl is doing a medical informatics fellowship in Boston, Buddy is developing a range of clinical trials tools at UCLA, and I've just been elected Chair-Elect of the Clinical Trials Working Group of AMIA. In addition there's Vinod Karup, who appears mostly to be busy practicing medicine but still posts here. Are there others lurking out there?

  • In the context of AMIA alone, there are many opportunities to create a big buzz around OpenACS. The stuff we've done could generate a number of great papers/demos at AMIA, where there is intense interest in open source tools and platforms. Besides presentations at the annual meetings, discussion of ongoing work within the various relevant working groups (the Clinical Trials WG of which I'm chair-elect, the Open Source WG, and the Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining WG that is closely tied to the Clinical Trials WG) could help show others what a robust starting point OpenACS is. We all should make the effort not merely to produce stuff, but also to write it up and present it. This is the best advertising one can do.

  • The healthcare domain is a great source of ideas for functionality to add to the platform (I'm going to post separately one such idea) as well as potentially a lot of useful work. For instance, I happened to fly back home sitting next to one of the branch chiefs at the National Institute of Mental Health who indicated that no one there has collaborative tools for managing or conducting research such as Buddy and I have built with OpenACS. The challenge is to connect to such people, and the best way to do that is for OpenACS-based projects to get prominent play in venues such as AMIA.
  • I hope that everyone who is interested in this domain will post here so that we all can know who we are. In particular, as projects/gigs hopefully arise, I'd like to know who all would be interested in joining in the work.

2: Re: Healthcare and OpenACS (response to 1)
Posted by Caroline Meeks on
Hi Stan,

I'm sure Carl has told you this...Solution Grove is very interested in the Healthcare market and we eager to help out with marketing and buzz creation.

Thanks for your post!

3: Re: Healthcare and OpenACS (response to 1)
Posted by Torben Brosten on
Hi, Stan,

The UNSPSC reference data package (package-key: ref-unspsc) in cvs has use in the medical industry supply chain management (see ). This is part of a set of integrated accounting, ecommerce and related packages in development which may have value in the medical industry with nonprofit/charitable work, dispenseries, professional services and separately managed projects (such as research).

4: Re: Healthcare and OpenACS (response to 1)
Posted by Vinod Kurup on
Hi Stan,

Congratulations on being elected to chair the CTWG. I am mostly busy practicing medicine, but I try to keep up-to-date with OpenACS. I'd be interested in helping create software which was useful to clinicians.

I used to be a member of AMIA, but let it lapse because I didn't think it was very clinically relevant. This was years ago. I'll take a look again.

PS. My last name is Kurup. is a whole different ballgame. :-)