Indivo X: The Open-Source Personally Controlled Health Record Platform

Location: F151
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Indivo ( is a health record platform,
developed by the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP) in
Boston, that empowers patients to take control of their personal
health record. It is the “secure Facebook platform for personal
health,” in that it enables the development of substitutable personal
health applications through which patients view and annotate their
data. And it is open-source: the platform code is publicly available,
and developers are encouraged to drive Indivo app development.

Clayton Christensen, inventor of the concept of disruptive innovation,
recently wrote in his book, The Innovator’s Prescription, "We cannot
overstate how important PHRs are to the efficient functioning of a
low-cost, high quality health-care system…We think that the Indivo
system, or something like it is a good place to "

Indivo is deployed in multiple environments, including at Children’s
Hospital Boston where the patient portal for all patients is at the
core of the highly innovative Gene Partnership Project, recently
covered in the Wall Street Journal. Our international open source
community includes a wide variety of players, including academic
institutions, software startups, individual developers, major
telecoms, retailers like Wal-Mart, and technology companies like Intel
and Microsoft.

The Indivo project began in 1998 and has been highly
influential. Microsoft launched a very similar product, Healthvault,
containing Indivo Open Source code. Dossia contracted with CHIP to
adapt Indivo for use by millions of employees, and Google launched
Google Health, a platform with similar architecture. The products
pushed out by these software giants have had unusually low adoption
rates, however, suggesting that patients are looking for something
more. Indivo X, the latest incarnation of Indivo at CHIP, provides a
substitutable, open source approach designed to enable patients to get
the tailored health experience they seek. Indivo X continues to lead
engineering innovation, health system process reform, and enforcement
of the principles of individual autonomy and patient control. Indivo
and the related project — a $15M open source,
federally funded project to create an “app store” for health — are
actively promoted by the Department of Health and Human Services and
by the White House (see

This talk will discuss the architecture and security implications of
Indivo X, its place in the open-source community, its relationship to
the federally funded open source project, and
its prospects for future development. More information about our PCHR
Infrastructures conferences, which spawned the Indivo ecosystem, is
available online at Our platform conference
where the White House announced the open source
is at


  • Indivo Background: PCHR history and related projects.
  • Indivo Overview: functionality and high-level architecture
  • Indivo Architecture: Document Processing and storage
  • Indivo Security: Access control, sharing, and authentication
  • Implications: what Indivo can do, and how SMArt helps
  • Indivo and open-source: A perfect fit
  • Indivo and the future: where PCHRs are headed

Daniel Haas

Children's Hospital Boston

Daniel Haas graduated from the Harvard EECS program with a degree in
Computer Science. He is now a software engineer and the Lead Architect of
the Indivo X project at the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program in