ASHEVILLE, NC - Open Health Tools, which includes organizations on three continents, has formed to focus on healthcare IT interoperability.
The group, made up of national health agencies and government-funded organizations, healthcare providers and international standards organizations from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, announced Tuesday it would develop common healthcare IT products and services.
Open Health Tools' stated mission is to accelerate the implementation of electronic health information interoperability platforms, which improve patient quality of care, safety and access to electronic health records.
The new tools will be available under an open source agreement so that anyone may use them to provision interoperable healthcare platforms to link clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and other points of care to make the healthcare system more efficient, OHT officials said.
OHT's health interoperability framework will use standardized, open interfaces and a set of reusable software components that can be assembled into systems and products by health systems and vendors.
"Advancements in medical procedures and patient care have changed the way the world views health and wellness," said Skip McGaughey, executive director of OHT. "However, modern healthcare information technology has not kept pace with the complexity of today's healthcare systems.
There is a critical need for interoperability between healthcare systems and the consistent and seamless exchange of accurate data."
McGaughey said research indicates the introduction of healthcare information exchange and interoperability has a potential annual savings of $77.8 billion in the United States alone.
OHT is open to membership from any organization, subject to board approval.
Its inaugural members are Canada Health Infoway, Inc.; the National e-Health Transition Authority (Australia); the National Health Service; Connecting for Health (United Kingdom); the Veterans Health Administration (United States); Health Level 7; the Healthcare Services Specification Project; the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation; the Object Management Group; Linkoping University; Oregon State University; Open Source Lab and Mohawk College; B2 International; BT; CollabNet; Eclipse; IBM; Innoopract; Inpriva; JP Systems; Kestral; NexJ Systems; Ocean Informatics; Oracle; Ozmosis; Palamida and Red Hat.