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. If single, large hospital were willing to step forward and provide a FOSS clinical EHR to its network of providers, and to fund that the development of that EHR for that purpose, it would establish that FOSS EHR as a costless resource for every clinic in the country.
A license for a carrier grade proprietary EHR for an entire network of providers would cost several million dollars. By spending the same money on a GPL EHR, that EHR would become feature-complete. It would lack nothing that was offered by any proprietary vendor. WorldVistA EHR is already CCHIT certified and would be an ideal candidate. Once development was complete, every other clinical practice in the country could use the same software for no cost.
With one large, committed deployment under the new Stark exception it would be possible to completely close the feature gaps that give proprietary systems an advantage. It would establish the equivalent of the perfect lighthouse that could be copied again and again without payment in every clinic in the country.
In short, with one visionary hospital completely committed, it would be possible to take the first step in solving the EHR problem in the United States.
Just a thought,