1. A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.
2. The principle of granting and maintaining a special right or immunity.
Tomorrow I will be speaking at the annual SCALE conference in Los Angeles. Last year, I introduced the theme of “Value Driven Health Care” as part of the kick off presentation of the day. Value was a word play, as I introduced the overlapping values (virtues) of both open source and health care, but also the overlapping value (outcome / price) that open source could contribute to the health care equation. Within the talk, I introduced the canonical concepts embodied in the Health 2.0 Movement. It was a small, familiar audience and generally well received.
Little did I know to what extent and to what degree these preliminary ideas would have as they began to coalesce into a true movement. The crescendo was seen in the Health 2.0 Conference held to a capacity crowd in San Francisco in September. Since that time, the Health 2.0 Explosion has continued unabated.
I will try to once again come correct with a new twist on how the principles of open source are being adopted within the health care industry. My talk will be well beyond information technology or software, but how the underlying values of open source are the same values that will propel the reform movement within health care.
One of the values I will talk about will be transparency. In July 2007, I read with interest when Mysis came out this big announcement about how they were going to be the leader in open source health care. Whatever (there are many who make this claim). Later in the fall, they came out with another “bold” announcement regarding their self-annointed open source leadership. The announcement was particularly irritating as it invoked many talking heads (Newt Gingrich [what?!], Ron Hovesepian [sellout], KLAS [reviews for sale] and a couple of CIO’s.
As a result, I called them out on the issue in very clear terms. The post had enough bite to warrant a call from Tim Elwell, the new Open Source Health Care VP at Mysis. He recognized the folly of leading with a press release as opposed to leading with code, but begged off for a little more time to get things together (he had been on the job less than 1 week when I posted). I have had one or two subsequent calls with him, as well as Steve Shreeve and Fred Trotter being included in several conversations. Mysis went back to put their heads down, and get to work on releasing some code, and I went along my way wondering if they would make good on their promises after a very unpromising start with the community.
So, it is with pleasure that today I was forwarded the following press release:
Misys delivers on promise to release open source code at Southern California Linux Expo
February 7, 2008: New York (PR Newswire) — Misys plc (FTSE: MSY.L), the global application software and services company announced today that it will release components of proprietary source code to the open source community at the Southern California Linux Expo (Scale), in Los Angeles on February 8. Scale signifys Misys’ first conference appearance into the open source arena.
“In October 2007, we announced our intention to release the Misys Connect Healthcare solution to the open source community and now we’re delivering on our promise,” said Bob Barthelmes, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the newly created Open Source Solutions division at Misys. “We’ve been focusing on forming partnerships that will (eventually) advance the collaborative development and quality of new products and reduce the price of software. We hope to improve healthcare delivery. That’s our goal,” said Bob.
To lead the company’s vision, Misys has chosen former IBM executive and healthcare business developer Tim Elwell to position Misys at the nucleus of the healthcare open source development debate. “Working with the open source community will require a leader who has integrity and supports the open source requirement of transparency and who can lead as well as support a community of innovators in an important attempt to improve healthcare delivery. Tim will excel in this role,” said Bob Barthelmes.
Under the direction of new Development Director Ryan Bloom, Misys plans to release additional code and product roadmaps in the Spring. Misys also plans to work with the open source community to attack the complex issues of systems interoperability. As a founder of the Apache Portable Runtime project and a major contributor to the Apache HTTPd 2.0 project, Ryan brings solid open source credentials to the Misys team.
Misys will also demonstrate the utility of the Open Connect product later this month at Healthcare’s Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Orlando.
In the say do be paradigm, Mysis gets not only a reprieve, but now gets some instant cred within the community. How long that credibility last will depend on how functional or useful the software is that is released and how they work to foster a community around it. If they released bits/parts that don’t meet any useful functionality “itches” of the community, nobody will be “scratching” away at it. I am hopeful for Mysis, as the transparency and meritocracy of their actions buys them some time to determine if they will be a legitimate member of a growing community. After actually releasing code, we can now officially welcome you as members of the community. I wish Tim and crew every success!
Because not only does membership have its privileges, but as in this case, transparency does as well.