09 July 2008

How Proprietary Systems Can Kill

Or could do:

The bewildering variety of new medical devices in U.S. hospitals promises higher standards of care. But it also poses new opportunities for error. A growing number of physicians believe that the interoperability of medical devices--their ability to communicate with each other--could make hospitals safer and more efficient.

"Today, there are many proprietary systems available from different vendors, but the problem is, these systems can't talk to one another," says Douglas Rosendale, a surgeon who works on information integration at Veterans Health Administration and Harvard Brigham and Women's Hospital. "If they can't interface, then they can't share information, which could have an impact on patient care." Estimates of the number of preventable deaths caused each year by medical errors in American hospitals range from 98,000 to 195,000.

You know the answer, people: open standards, open source. (Via James Tyrrell.)

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