OHIP - Open Health Information Project

OSU OSL announced a new collaboration at recently at EclipseCon. They’re joining with a half dozen leading public and private institutions with an end goal of providing open source solutions to healthcare providers, including secure means to share patient information. Open Health Information Project (OHIP), underscores the commitment of OSU’s Open Source Lab (OSL) to the successful adoption and use of open source software methodologies in the public sector. OHIP is a pilot project designed to demonstrate the viability of such an approach in Health Care IT. CollabNet, Palamida, Mayo Clinic, Innoopract, and OSL are among the first to join.

Why the project is needed?

The growing complexity of health information and the challenges posed by exchanging health information among hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and other care providers creates a pressing need for information technology systems capable of supporting these providers in an efficient, cost-effective manner. In the public sector, this is extended to other systems such as Medicare/Medicaid, correctional facilities and so forth. By offering the timely delivery of relevant patient information and decision-support resources to the point of care, early OHIP pilot projects will aggregate major open source code sets (software) and demonstrate the value of the open source approach in resolving existing problems in the health information technology field.

Who else is involved?

At the March 6, 2007 project inception, key industry IT leaders and contributors of health information code (applications or tools) to the project included:

  • CollabNet – will manage the collaborative open source development process over the entire code base lifecycle, including contribution, access, revision control, bug management and release distribution.
  • Palamida – will processes the code base to assure that intellectual property policies are enforced (this is essential when the code base is to be incorporated into commercial product offerings).
  • OSU Open Source Lab – will provide the aggregation, hosting and management of the code repository, including the CollabNet, Palamida, and Innoopract servers, as well as overall data center management.
  • Innoopract – will contribute its experience and technology in the space of bundling and integration of software components. Automation in assembly and management of deployments are further areas of Innoopract's expertise that will help to build solutions from a network of software from different manufacturers.
  • Mayo Clinic – will participate through its Division of Biomedical Informatics, where work is based on Lexical Grid (LexGrid) technologies. LexGrid provides support for a distributed network of lexical resources, such as terminologies and ontologies via standards-based tools, storage formats and access/update mechanisms. The Mayo Clinic’s participation, in essence, will provide a “medical vocabulary search engine” for the project.

What’s the relationship to Eclipse?

This leading-edge open source collaboration is envisioned as an extension of the Eclipse Open Healthcare Framework (OHF). The Eclipse OHF was designed to improve the levels of interoperability between applications and systems within and across healthcare organizations and regions. Just as they were essential to the successful development of the Internet, as an example, open standards and open source are considered to be critical elements in creating interoperability in the health IT arena.

Beyond the technology framework, Eclipse Foundations remains committed to community-building and collaboration in the “open” health IT sector.

Why was OSU OSL chosen as the repository?

Key Factors to attracting the project to Oregon include:

  • The unique, leading edge technical and community support expertise
  • Earned reputation as a trusted, neutral third party for hosting important OSS projects
  • Education and active outreach to public sector IT leadership most notably through the university’s annual Government Open Source Conference
  • A vital Open Source Ecosystem within the state of Oregon with significant social networks through the world.

The OSL Public Sector Program is leading the effort within OSU, leveraging OSL’s expertise and reputation earned through hosting important non-for-profit open source projects such as Firefox, the Linux kernel, and many other important projects. Participation as an “anchor tenant” in the pilot project was seen as an ideal opportunity to affect positive contributions to the benefit of the communities it serves.