A non-profit focused on HIT has released an open-source graphical user interface which will provide a common view for patient information from multiple EMRs — a very useful trick if the software delivers what it promises.
The interface, Janus, was created as part of an interoperability program designed to link Department of Defense and VA data. Right now, Janus is deployed at the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System/Triper Army Medical Center and clinics at James A. Lovell Federal Health Care System.
This seems like a great idea. If doctors in private medical settings could look at multiple EMR outputs at one time, I’m sure they’d be grateful. After all, it can’t be much fun going from EMR to EMR as you travel from one hospital to another.
Such a unified view would probably save lives, ultimately, as it’d make it easier for doctors to quickly spot problems and review cases distributed across hospitals and clinics. Oh, and reduce doctor burnout too.
Though I’m a big fan of open source efforts, I’m sorry to say that I doubt it will make a dent in the way hospital IT departments and commercial EMRs are deployed. Unfortunately, most vendors seem to feel they have more to gain by creating silos than making data sharing easy.
Still, it’s good to hear that the VA and DoD are doing something to interoperate. The two have been notorious for spending billions of bucks on integration projects that go nowhere, especially here in the healthcare arena.
The DoD’s AHLTA EMR project alone consumed 13 years and $2 billion, according to one account. The project went wrong due to poor planning and what sounds like arrogance (a failure to appreciate the “significant complexity” of the program), the Government Accountability Office concluded in 2010.