Category Archives: Open Source

Proteus Open Source Now!

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This is to announce the availability of source code for tools related to clinical decision support guidelines model, Proteus under an open source license (EPL). The open source development will proceed under the new Proteus Intelligent Processes (PIP) project.

With this announcement, we are also opening up the project for general participation. The code and related information can be found at  The home for Proteus will remain at Introductory information about the rule authoring system GreEd is available at

This also coincides with the release of the version 2.7 (beta), which has several new features to make knowledge authoring more exciting and easy.  Take the new application for a spin by downloading it from

What’s New

I list some of the new features in Version 2.7 below:

Protean (Clinical Workflow Authoring Tool)

  • Sharing executable knowledge
  • Unlimited undo and redo
  • Promotion and demotion
  • Move an item from one location to another
  • Search your library of components

GreEd (Rule Authoring Tool)

  • Undo and Redo
  • Default Inference
  • Semantic Guidance and constraints
  • New operators for your expressions, like [N of M] and [Between]
  • Date Fields and Operations

Read more about the new features here:

This is a major milestone for Proteus which was made possible by contributions from many wonderful people. Much of the development for this version was done in the Semantic Data Capture Initiative project of Henry Ford Health System, my employer. Besides Henry Ford, Lister Hill Center of National Library of Medicine played a critical role at the nascent stage of Proteus. Several ideas related to metadata usage and rule authoring were developed at City of Hope National Medical Center.

We will be scheduling a web seminar to provide a quick introduction to Proteus, GreEd and the PIP project and demonstrate the tools. Please let me know if you are interested in participating.

I will be at the upcoming AMIA annual symposium, in San Francisco and will be happy to meet you if you are planning to attend.

We welcome your participation and feedback.

Feel free to contact me.


Triumph of Open Source? : Lessons from VistA

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An interesting article in Washington Monthly highlights how VistA achieved its popularity was referred to on the AMIA Clinical Information System LISTSERV by Scot Silverstein.

To my mind, the key elements of VistA’s success are:

  • Participation of clinicians at every stage of its development including their writing of pieces of code and modules
  • Continuous, ongoing evolution and innovation
  • High degree of adaptability to different needs, not in small measure due to its being open source
  • Starting small and growing outwards, organically, rather than with a grand plan in a top-down approach

The bottom line is, Clinical Information Systems belong to clinicians. The sooner the Information Technology finds a way to hand it over to them the better it will be for the clinicians and for healthcare.


Can the Fun Apps of Web 2.0 World be Useful Apps for the Healthcare World?

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Many a conference have been organized and quite a few more papers and articles have been written about how Web 2.0 can revolutionize healthcare. The thought leaders have declared that Healthcare 2.0 is here – A new era where the Web 2.0 paradigm influences healthcare. It is said that connectivity between people and crowdsourcing that these new approaches facilitate will deeply influence how providers and consumers exchange information and make decisions.

All of which is true, notwithstanding the fact that the technology to do all that already existed – it’s just that the awareness of its power has reached the tipping point where everyone has started chanting the same mantra, in unison. No doubt these are powerful shifts and will have profound impact on healthcare. But, I have always felt that these cheerleaders have missed something fundamental. There has been so much emphasis on the social networking aspect (fuelled in no small measure by the sheep mentality of the venture capital and angel funds), that the other important aspect that can inspire new things in healthcare has not been given enough attention. That aspect being the component approach that the Web 2.0 has popularized. So many interesting tools have been created by the intrepid developers of Web 2 world that probably many of them can be mashed together to create really useful apps to do things in healthcare which were not easily possible or even conceivable earlier. It is also encouraging to see that so many have been brave enough to allow what they have developed to be used by others in ways which might be quite different than for which they were originally created. Continue reading