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Hacking Healthcare is Fred Trotter's Passion

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, June 18, 2013

Trotter also carries the banner for open source implementations of electronic health records. He was one of only two open source developers who testified at Washington D.C. hearings back when meaningful use was being defined. He argued then, and still does, that proprietary software vendors have been using the meaningful use regulations to tilt the playing field in their direction. "Meaningful use [became] yet another barrier you had to cross in order to exclude small, innovative players from the market and have large, proprietary vendors win."

Despite this, despite the overwhelming success of those proprietary vendors, fueled by HHS's billions of dollars, open source EHR software continues to grow, Trotter says. "Open source is really good at meeting and beating standards, as long as [they're] clear, objective and transparent."

Trotter should know. Way back in 2004, he was writing open source medical billing software. Then came Clear Health, open source practice management and EHR software. The list of open-source EHR software is lengthy indeed, including OpenEMR and the Veterans Administration's VistA, now in the public domain.

I don't for a moment think that open source EHR systems are going to replace Epic and Cerner. But they are not going away, and sooner or later, there will come a day when the smaller proprietary software vendors fall away. 

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