OSCAR users everywhere benefit from the spirit of cooperation that the open source mechanism imparts and formalizes. This concept lends itself well to the field of medical practice, where the emphasis naturally falls on collegiality and sharing of knowledge and expertise among the team of health professionals with the ultimate common goal of improving patient care. Improvements and developments done to the code by one developer will benefit others in the community, and in turn, the one will benefit from improvements incorporated by others.
The OSCAR community trusts McMaster University to be the non-commercial keepers of the trunk of the code, and that development updates and improvements are incorporated to it using the rigorous quality mechanisms, versioning systems and technology standards (ISO 13485, GIT, Maven) successfully implemented with significant effort over the last years. Our friends at McMaster have provided an invaluable service to us over the years and we have much reason to be thankful. We would like them to continue in this role.
The EMR market is a competitive one, and the OSCAR support market is no exception. In this context, good open source principles will occasionally collide with special interests. While it is natural in the business world to want to achieve a competitive advantage, the open source mechanism provides important protection to the OSCAR end user from the real possibility of specific support vendors leveraging specific pieces of program customization and development built for their clients, to bind those clients in a vendor-lock-in situation. Such protection is not available to users of proprietary EMR products.
However this protection can only be effective if the open source licence is respected and new code shared by incorporating it into the common trunk of the code maintained by McMaster University.
As the OCUS board, we would like to strongly encourage our members to consistently ensure that any custom programming work done for them by their OSCAR support providers is properly submitted to the OSCAR technical committee for sharing to the OSCAR trunk maintained at McMaster on an ongoing basis. Doing so consistently will not only ensure that the OSCAR end user will benefit from shared improvement, it will also prevent the end user from being held to ransom by their support provider by getting locked into specific custom functionality.
Community is what makes OSCAR stand apart from other EMR products. At the Oscar Canada User Society we are working to represent your community interests.