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The Free Open Source EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware for Pediatrics and Primary Care Website


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© 2010 The EncounterPRO Foundation


Please attribute The EncounterPRO Foundation as the creator of this work. Please indicate the title of the Work: The Free Open Source EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware for Pediatrics and Primary Care . Please include this URL for the Work: www.encounterPRO.org.


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Free Open Source EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware for Pediatrics and Primary Care
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An alpha version of the EncounterPRO-OS Pediatric EMR Workflow System can be downloaded here and installed--free! EncounterPRO-OS software has all the features of EncounterPRO® software, winner of 14 national awards, including three HIMSS Davies won by pediatric, family medicine, and obstetrics & gynecology practices.

After installation, take a test drive using this guide (5Mb PDF, right click to download).

If you are a developer, the EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware Platform (from which the EncounterPRO-OS Pediatric EMR Workflow System is derived) can be downloaded here: extend the executable, modify and compile the source code, and (when EncounterPRO-OS goes gold) distribute it--free!

As a developer you are free to distribute the EncounterPRO-OS EMR platform not just to pediatricians (roughly two thirds of EncounterPRO users), but also to other specialties as well. Add specialty-specific extensions (instructions here) and workflows (for EncounterPRO-OS workflow engine to execute), and distribute your value-added products and services with the free open source EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware Platform.


What is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)?

"Free and open source software is software that is liberally licensed to grant the right of users to use, study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code." (Wikipedia)

Free and open source software (FOSS) in health care is emerging as the less expensive, higher quality, more innovative alternative to traditional closed source health care software. This year the premier annual open source conference has even added an open source health care track, the first ever.

What Makes EncounterPRO-OS Different?

It will speed you and your team up instead of slowing you down. Why?

Four reasons:

Two laws from cognitive science and usability engineering:

  • The "targets" you touch to enter data and orders (buttons and picklist items) are really big! Due to Fitts' Law, entering data and orders is easier than in traditional EMRs.
  • Each screen has only a few targets from which to choose. Due to Hick's Law, entering data and orders is easier than in traditional EMRs.

Two features of clinical groupware:

  • The EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware Platform combines traditional EMR functionality with traditional business process management functionality. With only a few large targets on each screen, data and order entry are spread across a series of screens that mirror the order of patient encounter tasks. You control which screens are offered to you in which clinical contexts by editing workplans. These workplans are executed by a workflow engine. Therefore navigation from screen to screen is easier than in traditional EMRs. The workflow engine automatically forwards tasks among members of the care team.
  • The EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware Platform combines traditional EMR functionality with adaptive case management technology. All pending tasks/screens are visible and "actionable" in EncounterPRO-OS Office View (called a "radar view" by usability engineers). If you are interrupted during a patient encounter, its tasks hang around in the Office View, their colors indicating who is responsible, plus a continually updated number indicating the minutes it has languished. Touch tasks to resume them. All members of your care team are continually aware of what needs to be done, in what order, and who needs to do it.

Add-Ons: Optional Services and Modules

You may be interested in some of the following Add-Ons from an EncounterPRO-OS partner.

  • Nationwide remote support
  • Practice Management System interfaces and billing codes
  • e-Prescribing (through a Surescripts-certified EncounterPRO-OS partner)
  • Training (on site or on-line, above and beyond the free documentation on the EncounterPRO-OS User Wiki)
  • Implementation services
  • Vaccine registry interfaces
  • And so on (head on over to our Add-Ons page for more)

What is the "EncounterPRO-OS Platform"?

EMRs are becoming platforms for launching and managing modular components (bundles of functionality, such as e-prescribing or specialty-specific data entry or review or order entry screens). EMRs are becoming part of the plumbing, necessary but (ideally) not seen or heard. Just as you buy Windows not for the operating system itself, but rather for the functionality of Microsoft Office, EMRs are becoming operating system-like platforms for delivering meaningful functionality to the point of care. Unlike most EMRs these days, EncounterPRO-OS has always been a platform for combining modular clinical components into specialty-specific workflows that anticipate care team tasks and keep them aware of task status. Find out how to create and add your own modular component-based extensions to the EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware Platform on the EncounterPRO-OS Developer Wiki.

Realize Your Idea on the EncounterPRO Platform

If you pay a developer to add a module or service that runs on or can be accessed by the EncounterPRO-OS EMR Clinical Groupware Platform, it belongs to you.

You can sell it for whatever the market will bear, along with a free copy of the EncounterPRO-OS EMR platform.

This is All Highly Unusual and Unorthodox!

And innovative and leading edge, for healthcare. But this sort of thing has been happening for years in other industries. There are hundreds of thousands of open source projects, 19,000 new projects in 2009 alone, and over 800 in health care. Open source software used to be thought of as an inexpensive copy of innovative commercial software. However open source software is increasingly driving innovation and it is the traditional proprietary closed source vendors that are struggling to keep up.

Open source ideals and principles are increasingly affecting government, education, and even beer. Create something valuable and useful, give it away, encourage others to use and improve it, under the condition that you will benefit in return from their innovation. This model has enormous potential to solve the world's problems on a global scale. We hope and intend that even the poorest clinic should have the best EMR.

We feel good about the free open source EncounterPRO-OS EMR Platform and hope that you will join us.

A Short Editorial about So-Called Physician Resistance to EMRs

Increasing EMR adoption should not be based on overcoming resistance to EMRs. Who's resisting? Unenlightened physicians? Who's overcoming? A Borg-like combination of everyone else?

The practice of primary care medicine is a high-volume, low-margin operation and anyone running such a business, who is interested in his or her economic survival, should object to installing anything that costs too much, hurts productivity, and lessens the probability of their survival. The problem is not that the medical community or any part thereof is "resisting" the addition of EMR's. The problem is that most EMRs are just expensive ways to slow physicians down and lose them money. The only narrow sense in which there is something about physician attitudes that must be overcome is the stereotype that all EMRs necessarily do so. When an EMR (especially an inexpensive free open source EMR) helps the physician maintain profitability in the face of seriously declining prices (mandated by the government and insurance companies) physicians welcome the help.

Specialty-specific EMR workflow systems, such those made possible by the EncounterPRO-OS EMR clinical groupware platform, are the key to flexible, fast, easy, and accurate data and order entry and coordination of care--not overcoming so-called physician resistance to traditional "singleware" EMRs.

If you will take time to understand the reasons why we believe what we believe, you will understand, and we hope, share our vision.

Please download and try the EncounterPRO-OS Pediatric Workflow System for yourself. Free. The EncounterPRO-OS Pediatric EMR Workflow System will save you time, time you can spend seeing more patients, spending more time with each patient, or enjoying your years of hard work.

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