Why on earth we don’t have open source proper terminology servers?

The competition amont different information models in healthcare will never end. Yes, I know that there are many out there who think that a particular piece of work is so much better than the rest, and it is the feature of healthcare informatics. Sorry, I don’t agree. There are many other reasons, which I’d like to outline in another post, but in general, I can’t see this competition going away in the future.

What is interesting is, use of terminologies is common in many information model standards, whether it be HL7, EN 13606 or openEHR. There are many open source tools for many aspects of healthcare informatics, but when it comes to terminology management, the choices are surprisingly few! Other than NCI’s LexGrid initiative and Apelon, I can’t see any serious terminology server work in the open source domain. These two have their own pros and cons, but in general, this sub domain is surprisingly deserted. Please know that I’m not considering projects which were updated 3 years ago for the last time as candidates for my work in Opereffa.

There is huge work around the concepts which will eventually get linked to terminologies, but there is not much effort in the terminology server area. Yes there are many browsers out there, but whatever you do in the modelling phase, you’ll have to have access to a proper terminology server during use of that model (be it a Snomed CT subset or an HL7 message with Snomed CT codes in it). So why I can’t see an interest in this? Is it because people are so focused at well known problems, that they do not bother to think about what lies beyond them? Did open source healthcare attack the problem of informatin model based solutions first, omitting terminology based solutions? Terminology based approaches are old, and they are well established, so I can’t explain the lack of open source decent projects in this field. If you know one, drop me a line, and I’ll buy you a beer/wine/{insert your favorite drink here}.

Advertisements

Why on earth we don’t have open source proper terminology servers?

The competition amont different information models in healthcare will never end. Yes, I know that there are many out there who think that a particular piece of work is so much better than the rest, and it is the feature of healthcare informatics. Sorry, I don’t agree. There are many other reasons, which I’d like to outline in another post, but in general, I can’t see this competition going away in the future.

What is interesting is, use of terminologies is common in many information model standards, whether it be HL7, EN 13606 or openEHR. There are many open source tools for many aspects of healthcare informatics, but when it comes to terminology management, the choices are surprisingly few! Other than NCI’s LexGrid initiative and Apelon, I can’t see any serious terminology server work in the open source domain. These two have their own pros and cons, but in general, this sub domain is surprisingly deserted. Please know that I’m not considering projects which were updated 3 years ago for the last time as candidates for my work in Opereffa.

There is huge work around the concepts which will eventually get linked to terminologies, but there is not much effort in the terminology server area. Yes there are many browsers out there, but whatever you do in the modelling phase, you’ll have to have access to a proper terminology server during use of that model (be it a Snomed CT subset or an HL7 message with Snomed CT codes in it). So why I can’t see an interest in this? Is it because people are so focused at well known problems, that they do not bother to think about what lies beyond them? Did open source healthcare attack the problem of informatin model based solutions first, omitting terminology based solutions? Terminology based approaches are old, and they are well established, so I can’t explain the lack of open source decent projects in this field. If you know one, drop me a line, and I’ll buy you a beer/wine/{insert your favorite drink here}.

Eclipse vs Intellij Idea

Once I used to love Intellij Idea. At the time it was the most insightful java development environment. It was clearly created by people who knew about Java development. Then I started working with Eclipse, and at first, the switch was hard. At the time, Idea had so many nice features that I was used to, and I was quite frustrated to see that many of them did not exist in Eclipse.

In time I got used to Eclipse, and it introduced a huge amount of features. Yesterday, I had to download Idea to take a look at Apelon’s source code, and I’ve found it to be a really nice environment after all this time. (We are talking about 3, 4 years). However, Eclipse has come a long way, and I found out that I was now looking for things that I am used to in Eclipse. Idea provides a GUI designer, and this is one major problem where Eclipse is not providing any free solutions, but again, Idea is not a free IDE either.  The community and effort around Eclipse has grown so large that it is now able to compete with high quality commercial solutions, but seeing Idea still reminds me of the comfort of a polished IDE created only for software development. Eclipse is a platform, though most people do not need to go beyond its use as an IDE.

To be honest, if Eclipse can somehow deal with the SWT/Swing problems, it will probably be the king of the tooling and development arena. Of course till that time, we’ll all have to suffer.

Consuming all the fish in the world?

Does not sound possible right? I’m afraid the news are not that good though; not only it is possible, but we are just about to do this. Yes it is not about healthcare informatics or development or anything like that, but some things just get to me. Check out this independent article for details.

I’ve personally witnessed death of a great piece of sea. Gemlik bay, where I spent all summers of my childhood turned from a virgin piece of heaven into a pit of industrial waste and the fish I used to catch is just a memory of the past, just like my childhood. Somehow, this worries me too much, I’d love to go back to that little house near the bay and go to fishing again, but the fish is simply not there anymore.

Imagine this for all of the world. Scary.