SOURCE: Black Duck Software

Black Duck Software

June 10, 2009 10:34 ET

Open Source Software Projects in Health Care Offer Significant Cost Savings, Reports Black Duck Software

Open Source Offers to Break Status Quo by Reducing Cost of Implementing Electronic Medical Records Systems

WALTHAM, MA--(Marketwire - June 10, 2009) - Open source projects created for use in health care and medical applications promise to significantly reduce costs and contribute efficiencies to health care organizations, according to Black Duck Software, the leading global provider of products and services for accelerating software development through the managed use of open source software.

Using a well-known cost estimation model (COCOMO) to determine the cost to produce software, Black Duck estimates that the nearly 800 health care open source software projects it identified represent $6 billion USD of software development costs, and would require 31,000 staff years of development to replicate. These projects represent a significant potential stimulus resource available to the healthcare industry.

Projects dealing with electronic health records management, practice management and VistA, the health care information management system developed by the US Veterans Administration, lead in project community activity. Projects such as PatientOS, a patient management system; OpenEMR; an electronic medical record application, and OpenVista, an open-source version of VistA, are among the most active health care projects in the open source community as tracked by the Black Duck KnowledgeBase.

A report by life science market research publisher Kalorama Information, which valued the market for electronic medial record systems at $575 million in 2008, forecasts growth in the sector will reach $1.6 billion in 2013. According to Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, "EMRs give patients and physicians greater freedom, improve accuracy, and should result in better outcomes as critical records are all in one easily transportable record."

"The Obama administration, in its proposed reform of the health care system, has earmarked billions of dollars of stimulus money to foster the adoption of electronic medical records in Medicare and Medicaid alone(1)," said Eran Strod, director of product marketing, Black Duck Software. "Using open source software to meet this challenge -- and break the 'status quo' the president identified in his radio address on health care -- represents a significant opportunity to quickly implement electronic medical records systems at a drastically reduced cost to the country."

The top ten community-based open source health care projects dealing with electronic medical records and practice management each ranked in the top five percent on SourceForge, with hundreds to thousands of downloads per month. The projects are listed in the table below.

Project Name     Description

CARE2X           Integrated Hospital Information System for surgery,
                 nursing, outpatient wards, labs, pharmacy, security,
                 admission, schedulers, repair, communication & more.
dcm4che          Leading Java implementation of DICOM [].
                 DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) is
                 a standard for handling, storing, printing, and
                 transmitting information in medical imaging, founded by
                 the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).
                 There are 69 additional open source projects in the DICOM
                 ecosystem including pydicom, dicom-archive, EchoScu-DICOM,
                 and many more.
Praxisprogramm   An Eclipse RCP (Rich Client Platform) for all aspects of a
                 medical practice: electronic/medical record (EMR),
                 laboratory findings, as well as accounting, billing and
                 other daily work. Supports the TARMED-System.
FreeMED          Electronic Medical Record and Practice Management system
                 for medical providers.
medical          Scalable EMR (Electronic Medical Record) module for
                 OpenERP, aiming to provide a 100% paperless practice for a
                 single office or a hospital. Uses industry standards, such
                 WHO ICD-10.
OpenEMed         Distributed healthcare and medical information framework
                 based on open standards including those of HL7 and the
                 healthcare taskforce of the OMG (Object Management Group).
                 These standards include identity management, observation
                 access, access, and terminology.
OpenEMR          Open Source Electronic Medical Record, Practice
                 Management, Prescription Writing and Medical Billing
                 application. OpenEMR supports ANSI X12 EDI billing and two
                 clearing houses: ProxyMed and ZirMed.
PatientOS        Electronic medical record (EHR or EMR and PMS) for a
                 physician or clinics. Designed to be expanded into a
                 Healthcare Information System for a hospital (Laboratory,
                 Pharmacy, Orders, etc...).
Tkfp             TK Family Practice - Small office EMR for family
                 physicians, pediatricians, internists or primary care,
                 handling key functions including: registering the patient,
                 reading and writing progress notes, checking medications,
                 writing and transmitting prescriptions looking up
                 information on medical questions, making referrals, and
                 finally generating the bill and/or insurance claim, ready
                 for transmission or printing. Used in a four-doctor group
                 for five years. Handles HCFA1500 claim form.
Ultimate EMR     Open Source Core Electronic Medical Record for small
                 medical providers with key functionalities: complete
                 patient history, past visits, Rx, health maintenance,
                 allergies, labs, vitals, notes, and procedures.
VistA            Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology
                 Architecture - Enterprise grade health care information
                 system and Electronic Health Record developed by the
                 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and deployed at
                 nearly 1,500 facilities worldwide. Major open source
                 projects including: WorldVistA, WordVistA EHR, OpenVista
                 and VistA-Office HER.

Black Duck spiders the Internet collecting open source and other downloadable code into a database it calls the Black Duck KnowledgeBase. With more than 200,000 projects from 4,100 Internet sites -- and including 9,000 CodePlex projects -- the KnowledgeBase is a significant source of information about open source projects. More than 40,000 new projects have been added to the KnowledgeBase since January 2009.

To listen to a podcast in which Black Duck's Eran Strod discusses open source and health care, visit

For more information, please visit

About Black Duck Software

Black Duck Software is the leading global provider of products and services for accelerating software development through the managed use of open source and third-party code. Black Duck™ enables companies to shorten time-to-market and reduce development and maintenance costs while mitigating the risks and challenges associated with open source reuse, including hidden license obligations, security vulnerabilities, unsupported open source and version proliferation. The company is headquartered near Boston and has offices in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Hong Kong, as well as distribution partners throughout the world. For more information, visit

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