GPL Medicine


· Home

· Credo
· Medical Billing

· About Alex Simring
· Comments

· FSDaily - news on Free Software

Medcomsoft in bankruptcy

Multiple sources, including Street Insider report that Medcomsoft is bankrupt.

This was a publicly traded, CCHIT-Certified, "Best-in-KLAS" proprietary EHR company which is not seeking bankruptcy protection. Wikipedia, (as of today) has a balanced article on Medcomsoft.

Currently, you can still see advertising their services.


Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 11:59 PM
Digg This

The False Dichotomy: ASP vs Self Hosting

Sevocity recently sponsored an article entitled Tailwinds for Web-based Medical Systems. This is an interesting article where they argue that ASP-based solutions are growing in acceptance among users. Of course, Sevocity offers an ASP based solution. The beginning of the story is pretty interesting, they claim:

Personally I always question statistics that round nicely to multiples of %5, with no mention of how many actual people were covered in the survey.

The rest of the article is trying to push the idea that "The cloud is OK". Of course, this is exactly what someone offering cloud services would say. They have not mentioned the tremendous lack of control that this offers the practice. Essentially this takes vendor lock-in to new levels. Unless of course, the software used to host the solution is GPL or AGPL. With a GPL-based solution, you have the right to move the instance from your server to the cloud, if your server is too inconvenient. If the cloud goes down, or it costs to much, you can also move it to your own server.

Note that ClearHealth is offering instances of ClearHealth based on the Amazon Cloud.


Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - 02:38 PM
Digg This

Freedom when you get your Software as a Service

The Free Software Foundation has created, which is a site devoted to addressing the issue of software freedom in the context of network delivered software. The so called 'ASP loophole'.

Interestingly Ignacio Valdes has already discussed this issue with regards to medical software in an article entitled Browser Based EMR's Threaten Software Freedom well worth a re-read given the new work from FSF.


Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 01:18 AM
Digg This

Thanks for the help

Thanks to Dr. Adrian Midgley for noticing that I had not got my double negatives straight in the last article. Thanks to the Firebug project for helping me to sort out why my unordered lists were displaying all crazy.


Posted on Monday, May 26, 2008 - 12:51 PM
Digg This

Winning through Microsoft.

Refusing to use non-GPL software in medicine is a great idea. Also not using ANY fossil fuels is a great idea. But just because you cannot ride your bike, everywhere, does not let one off the hook regarding environmental responsibility. You still have a moral duty to reduce your use of oil. The reasons are clear, oil enables all kinds of abuses, its not good for the environment, and finally its going to run out someday. If you cannot stop using oil, it still helps to reduce your dependence. Similarly, if you cannot realistically refuse to use non-GPL or non-FOSS medical software, one should still try to loosen the grip of proprietary medical software generally. Here is a list of things to try.

  • For your next HL7 project, use Mirth. Its really good and its FOSS
  • IF you must buy a proprietary EHR system, then fund a FOSS EHR anyways.
  • Pick your battles, do not try to get GNU/Linux on the desktop, instead use a FOSS EHR through Windows.
  • Refuse to use optional proprietary services, like HealthVault. Make it clear, publicly, that you are doing this because of the license.
  • Be patient with us. FOSS activist, like me, are trying to create compelling GPL and FOSS alternatives. If you can... wait for it.

Please contact me through if you have more ideas about how to use moral compromises to move the GPL Medical Software movement forward.

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 04:06 PM
Digg This

AcerMed is officially dead.

AcerMed has officially given up the ghost. AcerMed clients received this fax.
(I have removed the personal contact information of the employees to protect the innocent. If you have trouble reading this, right click on the fax and choose "view image". I had to shrink it to make it fit...)

letting them know that their vendor has gone out of business. The intrepid Robert Gleeman managed to get an interview with AcerMed's president Richard Yonis. According to Yonis, AcerMed was sunk through a double whammy, a "failure of the legal system"( a lawsuit brought by Medinformatix) and a poorly timed bout of poor health for the CTO of AcerMed.

As I suspected, it seems the AcerMed people were not dishonest. They claim they did not steal copyrighted code. Personally I think this indicates just how easily a company can be destroyed by a lawsuit gone badly. While there is a tremendous amount of venom being directed towards AcerMed, I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt. The important thing to note here is what did NOT matter. The AcerMed people seemed decent enough: did not matter. AcerMed was CCHIT certified: did not matter. AcerMed was recommended in the industry press and by industry experts: did not matter.

Companies get sued, people get sick. When will the medical community wake up to the fact that proprietary medical software is incompatible with medicine, incompatible with free thought and dangerous to patient data? First Dr. Notes now AcerMed: is it time to wake up?


Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 03:28 AM
Digg This

We need one hospital: Stark law EHR safe harbor and FOSS EHR adoption.

Ignacio, over at LinuxMedNews has argued that the Stark law exceptions will create proprietary cartels.

He is correct. However if one hospital would step forward and select a FOSS EHR, we could permanently close the gap between proprietary EHR software and FOSS EHR software.

Please read on for a brief proposal.

Posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 10:55 AM
Digg This

CCHIT, EHRVA and "Rankings" mean little, the AcerMed story.

AcerMed is a CCHIT Certified proprietary Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) vendor that is member in good standing of EHRVA, the industry's proprietary-only vendor association. The group just received a #1 ranking from the AC Group; an organization that helps medical practices to choose EHRs.

AcerMed has also apparently closed its doors.

Posted on Thursday, August 02, 2007 - 12:27 PM
Digg This

'antiquated' vs 'proven'

VistA has its problems. I am pretty often frustrated with WorldVistA an organization that has great intentions who moves too slowly for my preference. Not to mention the companies that I regularly harass for trying to proprietarize VistA.

And those are just the problems within the community. As for the technology, VistA has no installer to speak of, it is written in an obscure (tho-powerful) language, and its documentation is largely out of data and inscrutable.

Despite these problems VistA is clearly the most powerful and feature complete hospital EHR available. While I welcome intelligent and informed debate on VistA I am frustrated by FUD that is typified by this comment to Modern Healthcare by Marlon Williams titled Antiquated system slowing EHR transformation. Which, from what I can tell, makes the argument that VistA should be abandoned because its "old". Thankfully Modern Healthcare has also published my reply VistA: You say 'antiquated' I say 'proven' Since Modern Healthcare links tend to fade over time, I have included both the original comment and my response after the gap, for posterity.


Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 01:18 PM
Digg This

Where we are now.

Several people have criticized me for admitting that I was wrong, there is some confusion as to what, exactly I was admitting I was wrong about. So first, some clarification. I was wrong when I predicted an underwhelming release.

Medsphere has betrayed the community, this has not changed. When Eric Raymond and I were trying to negotiate peace between the Medsphere and the Shreeves, I asked for two things from Medsphere.

  • Release all of the code you yanked from Sourceforge, under the same license.

  • Stop suing the Shreeves for releasing the software

Since that time, Medsphere has continued to pursue the Shreeves. So I have added another item to my list of requests.

  • Pay the Shreeves legal expenses

Medsphere has released two of the three original components on sourceforge. They changed the license on one two a bastardized FOSS license commonly referred to as "bannerware". As a result they are exactly 2/9ths of the way to reconciling the relationship with the community.

To get me to shut-up, Medsphere will need to do all three of the things that I have asked for. Because, while I may be wrong sometimes, I am usually right (and never in doubt!)

Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 08:43 PM
Digg This