The top complaint I hear about healthcare IT systems when talking with clients is lack of interoperability. Once you pick one vendor for one system, you pretty much have to stick with them for everything. If you want information from one department or system to work with another department or system, everything has to come from the same vendor.
The Wall Street Journal recently had a great interview with Eric Schmidt, former Chairman/CEO of Google. In it he touches on a couple important points including interoperability. Schmidt proposes that healthcare takes a path similar to the development of the Internet: open source and open protocols. Let the universities and non-profits develop the structure and corporations can build their big, expensive apps on top. I like it. The big healthcare software giants hate it. They lose the vendor lock-in that is paying the bills. However, I think that history proves open source wins: see Sun, SGI, Microsoft, etc.
This was all great until last week. Google announced that CEO Schmidt would be stepping sideways and Google founder Larry Page would be taking over as CEO. The internet is abuzz with talk of whether Schmidt was getting promoted or demoted. Either way, this move frees up a lot of time for Schmidt to be talking to universities about open source healthcare software or lobbying Congress in Washington. Now, I’m not sure if any of this speculation will come true, but Google would love to see open health information. Then they could move all hospitals, insurance companies and patients to Google Health.