Moving Health IT Innovation forward: A vision for substitutable components Reply

In the March 2009 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, Drs. Kenneth Mandl and Isaac Kohane of Harvard Medical School introduced the idea of a health information technology platform that works more like the iPhone than a traditional system.  Entitled “No Small Change for the Health Information Economy“, the paper suggests a simplified platform approach where innovation is spurred through substitutable components.  SMART PlatformThe SMART Platform is held up as an example.

We couldn’t agree more.

Our vision of an OCIN aligns very closely with the NEJM of  article and the SMART Platform. Whereas traditionally system are closed silos with deep integrations across systems, our vision for research is one of loosely coupled, open systems.  The internet provides many examples of this from travel applications to financial management.  While secure and private, they enable innovators to meet and exceed customer expectations by opening up possibilities for new applications and applied informatics. In the same way, it is our belief that an open innovation approach will allow patients and their advocates to engage more directly in  healthcare and ultimately research itself.  Our RESTful Open API for augmented data along with Clinical Collections application is a good example of applied use in clinical research.  (Editor’s Note: In 2015, leadership of the LCOI-API was transitioned to TrialReach. You can learn more about their continuing work in innovation in clinical trial matching at We have more applications in the works and are looking forward to see what others will do with our API.

We’re pleased to be invited to a conference next week of Health IT change leaders supporting this  vision.  The conference, hosted by Harvard Medical’s School Center for Biomedical Informatics and the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, will bring together leaders from across the healthcare industry to explore and forge interdisciplinary partnerships to realize the vision.  Stay tuned for more information and outcomes of the conference.

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