Orlando/FL, February 26, 2008 –The Open eHealth Foundation announced that Agfa HealthCare, eHealth specialist InterComponentWare (ICW), and Sun Microsystems, Inc. have joined as foundation members of the new Open eHealth Foundation, an Open Source initiative. The Open eHealth Foundation will provide software components under an Open Source license that will boost the open standards-based exchange of medical information.
The eHealth market growth is driven by growing challenges to healthcare systems in industrialized societies, as well as new medical information and communication technologies. Recent research suggested that the eHealth industry has the potential of a global budget of 73 to 88 bn US$1. In order to capitalize on this huge market potential and to improve medical care, interoperability of electronic medical records and personal health records by different vendors is critical.
The founding members of the Open eHealth Foundation have recognized the necessity to:
- Create a worldwide community-driven software development platform to speed up the digitization of the healthcare industry.
- Enable members and healthcare organizations to create compelling solutions based on existing global clinical and administrative standards, and increase interoperability with a wide array of third-party components and platforms.
The Open eHealth Foundation is open for additional members who want to participate in the joint effort of promoting an open, consensus-based healthcare industry forum. While the eHealth framework of the foundation is available for all interested parties, formal members of the foundation may actively participate in the future development of the strategy and roadmap of the initiative.
Three levels of membership are available: (1) Contributing members can add their components to the Open Source code base of the foundation; (2) Participating members can own projects in the foundation and are represented in the board through a fixed number of directors; and (3) Promoting members who have a high level of influence on the direction of the foundation due to their significant involvement. Membership negotiations with leading healthcare IT providers are currently underway.
According to Geert Claeys, Agfa HealthCare’s Technology Manager, “Quality and efficiency improvement of healthcare provision is hampered by a lack of a common open infrastructure, accessible for care providers, patients and other stakeholders. The foundation aims to tackle this need, offering the eHealth community the necessary foothold and opportunity to grow. This will, in turn, allow vendors to focus their efforts on delivering software applications that bring value to the end users.”
Additional information on the Open eHealth Foundation and possibilities for participation are available at www.openehealth.org