Fred Trotter

Fred Trotter

Health IT innovator

Houston, Texas

Areas of Expertise:

  • ehr
  • phr
  • health it
  • medical software
  • hl7
  • meaningful use
  • HIE
  • IHE
  • consulting
  • speaking
  • programming
  • training
  • writing
Fred Trotter is a hacktivist. He works for social change by coding and promoting Open Source Health Software. In recognition of his role within the Open Source Health Informatics community, Trotter was the only Open Source representative invited by congress to testify on the definition of 'meaningful use' for the federal health care incentives law (Meaningful Use). Trotter also represented the Open Source EHR community in negotiations with CCHIT, the leading EHR certification body.

Trotter is the original author of FreeB, the worlds first GPL medical billing engine. In 2004 Fred Trotter received the LinuxMedNews achievement award for work on FreeB. Fred Trotter was an editor for the Open Source EHR review project with the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), Open Source Working Group (oswg). Fred is a member of WorldVistA and is the programmer behind Astronaut Shuttle which is the first cloud-based VA VistA offering.

Fred Trotter is a recognized expert in Free and Open Source medical software and security systems. He has spoken on those subjects at the SCALE DOHCS conference, OSCON, LinuxWorld, DefCon and is the MC for the Open Source Health Conference. He has been quoted in multiple articles on Health Information Technology in several print and online journals, including WIRED, ZSnet, Government Health IT, Modern Healthcare, Linux Journal, Free Software Magazine, NPR and LinuxMedNews. Trotter has a B.S in Computer Science, a B.A in psychology and a B.A in philosophy from Trinity University. Trotter minored in Business Administration, Cognitive Science, and Management Information Systems. Before working directly on health software, Trotter passed the CISSP certification and consulted for VeriSign on HIPAA security for major hospitals and health institutions. Trotter was originally trained on information security at the Air Force Information Warfare Center.

Hacking Healthcare Hacking Healthcare
by Fred Trotter, David Uhlman
October 2011
Print: $19.99
Ebook: $16.99

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Fred blogs at:

Malignant computation

March 12 2014

Cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, could revolutionize money to the same degree that the Internet has revolutionized communication. However, like any economic marketplace, human exuberance is the greatest threat to the cryptocurrency phenomenon. Markets fail to the degree that the market can … read more

How crowdfunding and the JOBS Act will shape open source companies

March 28 2013

Currently, anyone can crowdfund products, projects, causes, and sometimes debt. Current U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations make crowdfunding companies (i.e. selling stocks rather than products on crowdfund platforms) illegal. The only way to sell stocks to the public at large … read more

The Direct Project has teeth, but it needs pseudonymity

August 24 2012

Yesterday, Meaningful Use Stage 2 was released. You can read the final rule here and you can read the announcement here. As we read and parse the 900 or so pages of government-issued goodness, you can expect lots of commentary … read more

Why microchips in pills matter

August 02 2012

Earlier this week, Proteus announced that they have been approved by the FDA to market their ingestible microchips for pills. Generally, the FDA approval process for devices that are totally new like this is a painful one, with much suffering. So … read more

Who owns patient data?

June 06 2012

Patients, doctors and providers have a unique set of privileges that do not line up exactly with a traditional concept of ownership. read more

Principles of patient access in Directed Exchange

May 06 2012

In this digital world, health data that's 36-hours old can only be analyzed as a post-mortem. Health data that's 30-days old is already rotting. read more

Left and right and wrong

March 15 2012

Fred Trotter has often said the problems in health IT are political and not technical, but sometimes a picture can drive a point home better than words. read more

The Direct Project in action

February 24 2012

Jim Langabeer, CEO of Greater Houston Healthconnect, discusses the implementation goals and hurdles related to a Direct Project pilot program. read more

Direct Project will be required in the next version of Meaningful Use

February 23 2012

Given the way that healthcare is financed in the U.S., it's reasonable to expect that many doctors will have a Direct email address to communicate with other doctors and their patients in a few years. read more

HIMSS asks: Who is Biz Stone and what is Twitter?

February 21 2012

As patients and practitioners gather on Twitter, the service has evolved into a peer-to-peer healthcare marketplace. That's why Twitter co-founder Biz Stone's keynote at HIMSS is so fitting. read more

AI will eventually drive healthcare, but not anytime soon

January 25 2012

People will eventually get better care from artificial intelligence, but for now, we should keep the algorithms focused on the data that we know is good and keep the doctors focused on the patients. read more

The rise of programmable self

January 11 2012

Taking a cue from the Quantified Self movement, the programmable self is the combination of a digital motivation hack with a digital system that tracks behavior. Here's a look at companies and projects relevant to the programmable self space. read more

Software crumple zones

January 10 2012

Clinicians often encounter multi-step software processes that seem laborious. Sometimes that's due to a design flaw, but other times that process has been intentionally constructed as a crumple zone. read more

Are EHRs safe?

January 09 2012

As a society, we need to get comfortable with the notion that Electronic Healthcare Records will both help and hurt people. On balance, they will do far more good than harm. read more

Epatients: The hackers of the healthcare world

January 05 2012

The epatient community uses digital tools and the connective power of the Internet to empower patients. Here, Fred Trotter offers epatient resources and first steps. read more

The Transportation Security Administration's QR code flub

January 03 2012

Fred Trotter discovers that a QR code embedded in a TSA poster at the Orlando airport links to, which is about as far as you can get from a government website. read more

Why developers should enter health IT contests

November 04 2011

Working on software that addresses patient safety issues is one of the few ways that a software developer can impact quality of life rather than convenience of life. Health contests are fun enough that you might even forget that you're changing the world. read more

Why geeks should care about meaningful use and ACOs

October 21 2011

Clinical people tend to focus on meaningful use incentives as "how do I get paid to install an EHR." But geeks can see the bottom line: healthcare reform is pointless unless we get the measurement issue right. read more

OSEHRA's first challenge: VistA version control

October 20 2011

Veteran Affairs' VistA electronic health record system is famously resistant to being managed by version control. That needs to improve if VistA development is to be run as a meritocracy. read more

OSEHRA and the future of VA VistA

October 19 2011

Veterans Affairs is taking the bold step of making governance of the VistA system open source. If you care about healthcare software, the new Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA) is worth your involvement. read more

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Webcast: 6 New Year Resolutions for Health IT
January 17, 2012
If you are interested in insight into the strange behind the scenes workings of healthcare or are already a grizzled veteran we will cover a diverse set of topics sure to be as informative as they are interesting and funny.

"Meaningful Use and Beyond is well written, readable and provides a good understanding of the current position of US health informatics."
--Sheila Bullas, MBCS, CITP

"The highest compliment I can pay Trotter and Uhlman is to say I wish their book had been available to me as a decoder ring when I started out."
--Joseph Conn,

"The book provides a very thoughtful and detailed view of Federal programs to accelerate the use of Healthcare IT. I really enjoyed the expert interpretation of the standards and policy activities which I've experienced first hand over the past five years."
--John D. Halamka