In 1988, David Chan developed a DOS-based program called MUFFIN (McGill University Family Folder Information Network) while at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. This was one of the first programs developed according to the philosophy of ‘Open Source,’ software with source code that can be freely used, changed and redistributed in the interest of collaboration and progress.
Originally designed with the objective of introducing a low-cost, computerized medical record system to primary care clinics, the system was customized to meet the specification of Provincial Health Care Programs. MUFFIN embodied a problem-oriented, patient-centred and episode-oriented philosophy in its development, implementation and evolution. It was the beginning of something unprecedented in primary care informatics -- the beginning of OSCAR.
In 2000, prototype programming began and funding was pursued. In 2001, OSCAR’s current capabilities and applications were becoming a reality. After only 14 months of intense programming, OSCAR was launched at its first large clinic site on April 15, 2002. Dr. Chan’s visionary leadership inspired the programming team to produce a dynamic, interactive software at the leading edge of medical informatics and open source clinical software. In just 2 ½ years, OSCAR was brought from conception to completion, with an official release of version 1.0 on November 17, 2002.