The launch of the Alembic Foundation was announced Monday. Its purpose is to “contribute to the public commons through open processes that create open technologies for transformation," said David Riley, the foundation's president and CEO, in a news release.
Keeping Connect alive won't be the not-for-profit's only goal, Riley said. “The foundation will be tackling projects that will benefit from using open technologies to solve real-life challenges,” he said. But, “a first project will be to expand the work of Connect to create a truly open community that uses open source technology for health information exchange."
Riley, a principal of Enaptics Consulting, was the project lead for Connect, working under a contract with the FHA. Vanessa Manchester, a senior program manager at Iris Partners and the program manager of Connect, was named as Alembic's chief operating officer.
The group has released and renamed as Aurion 3.1 what had been Connect 3.1, the latest version of the federally developed software.
An upgrade to Aurion 4.0 is expected by May 3, and with it, the Alembic Foundation “will assume a custodial agent role for the development efforts of a robust open community and ecosystem being built around the Aurion platform,” according to a news release. After that “the Aurion community will continue to evolve the software to ensure that it remains a powerful, open source option for a Nationwide Health Information Network compliant gateway.”
Thus far, only three members of what is expected to be a 15-member foundation board of directors have been named. One is Riley. Another is Brian Behlendorf, chief technology officer for the World Economic Forum and a former adviser for the Connect project. Behlendorf has served on the board for the Mozilla Foundation—developer of the Firefox web browser—and is a former director and president of the Apache Software Foundation, the open source developers of the Apache web server software. The third member is Jon Teichrow, president of the Mirth Corp., developers of open source software to facilitate the interfacing of disparate healthcare applications.
“Creating a non-profit foundation to continue the work started by the federal government is the right thing to do,” Behlendorf said in a news release. “It allows the project to grow and involve a far larger constituency in its development, with clearer rules of engagement for everyone. Our hope is that this unleashes greater degrees of collaboration and innovation."