Hey, this is the real deal where programmers can make a real contribution to the advance of health care, involving Brian Behlendorf, a major mover for Net tech behind the Apache web server. (It drives most of the whole Web.)
Here's the straight deal from him:
For the last six months, developers and health care professionals from dozens of different organizations have been publicly collaborating on the Direct Project: a secure health messaging standard and two accompanying open source software implementations. This effort, initiated and supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has been a public open source effort since day one. The goal is to transform the exchange of health data – doctor referrals, lab results, sharing data with patients – from analog (fax or worse) into digital exchanges. After much research, they are using very familiar standards: SMTP, S/MIME, DNS, and others.
They are getting close to a "1.0" release of both a C# and Java implementation, designed to be incorporated into existing clinical systems, integrated by SaaS healthcare companies, or even used as a stand-alone application. They will be meeting in San Francisco on October 27 and 28 to get to 100 percent functional completeness and test coverage, and to coordinate the first wave of pilot projects.
If you have C# or Java skills, if you want to get deep into what will be a reference tech standard for health data exchange, and if you can dedicate October 27 and 28 to the effort, you are more than welcome to attend. The healthcare technology industry is hiring, and will need developers familiar with the standards, terminology, and technology like those used in this project. Healthcare IT can have a steep learning curve, so the morning of October 27th is dedicated to getting you up to speed on the project and the development environment.
If you can attend, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, as available space is somewhat limited.
More information can be found at: