Three Impossible Things

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
– Lewis Carroll

So, the first half of November has felt a lot like before breakfast at Lewis Carroll’s house.  We could have universal health care by next yearGenes now account for a very small part of the human genome, a contrary view to what scientists previously thought.  And yes, we have elected our very first African-American President.

President-Elect Obama is dedicating part of his administration to health care – this is no surprise (every President does) – and is bringing with him a wave of optimism, which is apparently changing the face of health care even before he enters office.  As Edward Kennedy writes in the Nov. 9th Washington Post article entitled “Health Care Can’t Wait”:

Another good omen occurred in 2006 in Massachusetts, when businesses and workers, insurance companies and patients, Democrats and Republicans came together on a practical solution for the state. Since that solution was enacted, Massachusetts has expanded coverage to more than three-quarters of the state’s uninsured; the state now has far and away the nation’s lowest proportion of medically uninsured people. As a result of the large increase in enrollment, insurance premiums have dropped significantly. ….

President-elect Barack Obama has issued a clarion call for action on health care. His practical and thoughtful proposals draw from our Massachusetts experience and add important measures to improve quality and reduce costs. His plan includes crucial investments in modernizing the use of information technology in health care. He calls for a new emphasis on prevention and wellness, because the best way to treat a disease is to prevent it from striking.

Those of us who are working on OpenClinica look forward to the change ahead and its possible implications for Health IT.  Akaza Research is currently working on the next release, which will include the latest in open-source Java frameworks, Hibernate and Spring.  We are working on new ways to incorporate OpenClinica into other applications and frameworks, through an API.  You can read more about our plans in the wiki roadmap, posted here.

In short, we are really amazed at what we’ve accomplished this month.  Let’s keep the momentum rolling.

I love the smell of politics in the morning

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last six months, you will have noticed that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are casting votes for the next candidates for our presidential elections in November.

One of the links making the rounds of healthcare-based blogs is this link, which leads to a breakdown of each candidate’s position on healthcare reform.  Some interesting points from the above, and the slightly more photogenic health08.org:

  • Hillary Clinton is supporting a “paperless” health information technology system in order to reduce costs.
  • Barack Obama plans to invest $50 billion toward adoption of electronic medical records and other health information technology.
  • Bill Richardson (Tufts grad, w00t!) would reduce spending on health care administration by providing grants for adoption of health information technology.
  • Denis Kucinich, besides creating a Universal Health Plan, would promote an electronic health record to reduce paperwork.
  • And it’s not just a Democrat thing either; Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain would promote deployment of Health IT and electronic medical records.

You may ask, what’s this all got to do with the OpenClinica clinical trials software?  Seeing as how we are partially sponsored by the NIH’s Commercialization Assistance Program, this has quite a bit to do with us.  We are focused more and more on the future of electronic data capture, a system that goes hand in hand with electronic health records.

So, as the great American slug-fest we call the Presidential Election 2008 begins, we can look forward to a lively debate about healthcare from all candidates, whether they are red state or blue state.