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New IBM Initiative Advances Open Software Standards In Healthcare and Education


ARMONK, N.Y. - 24 Oct 2005: IBM's healthcare and education practices today announced a major initiative to improve interoperability and information-access through the development of open software standards.

Under this initiative, IBM is pledging royalty-free access to its patent portfolio for the development and implementation of selected open healthcare and education software standards built around web services, electronic forms and open document formats. 

Industry growth and service delivery in healthcare and education currently are hampered by the proliferation of incompatible document formats and proprietary technology, making it difficult to find, retrieve and share data such as standardized medical records and educational resources.  

IBM believes its new initiative can help address the complex ecosystem across which information must be accurately, securely and efficiently shared and assist our clients in these two vital industries as they work to improve the quality and lower the costs of services they deliver to patients, physicians, students and teachers around the world.  Standards can foster interoperability and dramatically improve the ability to communicate data and information among and between companies and throughout communities. 

"Healthcare remains one of the greatest challenges for our society and our economy worldwide. Many industries are transforming, using open software standards to create a powerful platform for innovation and industry growth," said Neil de Crescenzo, vice president, Global Healthcare, IBM Business Consulting Services.  "Our initiative can help do the same for the worldwide healthcare industry."

"Fueling innovation and creating a highly skilled workforce requires greater collaboration between students, administrators, industry, school systems and institutions of higher education," said Sean Rush, general manager, IBM Global Education Industry.  "IBM is eager to contribute to this collaboration through open standards and industry best practices that drive down costs and provide an environment of learning and advancement.  We're calling on others to join us in promoting the development and adoption of truly open software standards."

Innovation based on open software standards can help transform both healthcare and education.

In the healthcare industry, access to IBM's patents has the potential to spur worldwide development of standardized electronic health-record networks, fostering the widespread adoption of health information technology.  Such technology will support the protection, privacy and security of health information through open, interoperable technologies.

For example, where healthcare standards seek to provide higher priority to emergency-room requests for patient information than routine office inquiries in web services applications, IBM's patents differentiating levels of service could speed implementation of such prioritization.  Royalty-free access to IBM's US patent number 6816907:  System and method for providing differentiated services on the web, Mei, et al., November 9, 2004, may provide needed technology to make that standard a reality.

In Education, open access to IBM's patented technology can improve the effectiveness and productivity of the education process and of the management of school districts and institutions.  Standards-based applications could provide students in remote areas, including those in emerging geographies, access to teachers, lesson repositories and information resources currently beyond their reach and regardless of time zones.

For example, IBM has patents that use web services to link students and teachers anywhere in the world based on the compatibility of their teaching and learning styles.  One such patent is IBM's US patent number 6782396: a method, program and system for aligning students and teachers according to dominant learning and teaching styles, Greene et al., August 24, 2004.

IBM's work with the healthcare and education industries follows IBM's pledge of 500 software patents to the open source community earlier this year.  Since then, other companies and organizations have made similar pledges helping to create an open source "patent commons."

IBM's new initiative to advance open software standards in healthcare and education and further related information will be posted on IBM's website at http://www.ibm.com/research/innovation/ip.

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Contact(s) information

Gina Jesberg
IBM Media Relations
(203) 445-1545
ginajes@us.ibm.com

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Information Management, Lotus, Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere, Open standards, open source

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