Red Hat Gets a Healthy Option

Linux vendor Red Hat is getting into the healthcare

In partnership with healthcare solutions provider McKesson, Red Hat
announced today the Red Hat Enterprise Healthcare Platform. The new
healthcare product is part of a renewed focus by Red Hat to provide vertical
market solutions. The move comes at a key time as the Linux vendor continues to
face challenges from a bevy of competitors including Oracle , Microsoft  and
Novell .

Red Hat Enterprise Healthcare Platform is an integrated solution stack made
up of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and JBoss middleware that is
integrated with the Horizon Clinical Platform from healthcare software
vendor McKesson.

“A lot of hospitals are on older technologies like AS/400 and mainframes so
this really helps hospitals and health care providers have a more scalable
solution,” Joanne Rohde, Red Hat’s executive vice-president of worldwide operations, told

As part of the integrated solution the Red Hat offering is also providing
best practices for deploying the McKesson software with RHEL so that
healthcare providers are fully tuned and up and running quickly. Rohde noted
that McKesson’s Horizons software has 9 different applications ranging from
acute care records to billing and with the Red Hat Enterprise Healthcare
Platform it’s simplified all on one platform.

“There is a need to have integrated healthcare and this is the first step,”
Rohde said. “One of the important aspects of this partnership is that it
paves the way for open standards on what lies under the hood.”

What lies under the hood are health care records and medical information and
the ability for systems to interoperate. The ultimate goal of such an
integrated healthcare solution, according to Rohde, is to provide better
health though better information.

As opposed to legacy healthcare systems, which don’t necessarily scale across
the myriad of devices in modern health care environment, Rodhe argued that
with Red Hat the solution will work on everything from the backbone to mobile clients.

“In the old infrastructure they had to do it piecemeal,” Rohde said. “This
will allow them to go from front to back with one solution.”

Integration with other systems and migration from other systems is also a
key strength of the Red Hat solution with good reason.

“It is very rare in any company that Red Hat goes into that it would be Red
Hat top to bottom when we start,” Rohde explained. “By definition all
companies have some kind of legacy platform and part of our success has been
our ability to interoperate with them.”

In addition to healthcare, Rodhe noted Red Hat plans increased emphasis on solutions for the Telco and Financial Services markets this year as well.

Red Hat is also on the verge of releasing its new flagship Linux version, Red Hat
Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL 5)
. Rodhe noted that RHEL 5 will add further
value to Red Hat’s vertical customers without costing them more money. The
RHEL 5 update will be delivered as part of a RHEL subscription without
additional cost.

“Unlike Microsoft’s Vista, Red Hat clients that are already on RHEL 4 will
have a marginal cost of zero and they can upgrade when they are ready, ”
Rodhe said. “It is inherent in our subscription system to provide more value
in each release.”

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