combines the functionality of an Electronic Medical Record and a Health Information System, focused on preventive medicine for developing countries, with special emphasis on the socio-economic background of the patient. It uses industry standards, such ICD-10 and ICD10-PCS.
One key aspect of Medical that differentiates it from other systems is the holistic approach of dealing with the patient. We designed Medical to include all the factors that influence their health status. By this we firmly believe in the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Why and how did you get started?
Medical is part of the GNU Solidario project. GNU Solidario is a non-profit effort that works with communities that lack basic needs (health and education ). GNU Solidario (previously called Linux Solidario) started in 2006, the Medical project started in August 2008.
Who is the software’s intended audience?
Doctors, primary care centers, hospitals, and non-profit organizations (NGOs).
What are a couple of notable examples of how people are using your software?
We are implementing a pilot project in a public primary care environment in the north of Argentina with nine-thousand patients; three thousand families from different sectors. Very interesting epidemiological data.
What are the system requirements for your software, and what do people need to know about getting it set up and running?
Medical runs on top of OpenERP, an open source ERP. Medical is documented on the SourceForge wiki and the installation is pretty straight forward. Then, depending on the role of the user, they should know about ERPs, EMR, and some statistics.
What gave you an indication that your project was becoming successful?
Since we published the first alpha version in SourceoForge, we’ve been getting mails, calls, and suggestions from people all over the world. We also noticed how much people were interested [in Medical] at this year’s Biostec / OSHEC Conference (Open Source in Health Care, in Porto, Portugal.
What has been your biggest surprise?
The response of the medical community in general. It’s great knowing that people in different continents are getting involved with Medical because it seems to fit their needs. Of course, it was a great surprise and we were very happy to be chosen as a finalist for the 2009 SourceForge Community Choice Awards Best Project of the Year for the Government.
What has been your biggest challenge?
It has been both technical and social. From a technical point of view, we needed something that could scale well, make use of standards, and had to be easy to localize. OpenERP, PostgreSQL, and Python solved that problem.
In the social aspect, we work with a multi-disciplinary team (doctors, biochemists, nurses, social workers, etc.) and we have to listen to the needs of their fields, then we have to integrate them. On top of that there is a multinational team, with different cultures and perceptions, all of them very valid.
Why do you think your project has been so well received?
Probably because we thought of making a universal system, in the widest sense of the term. A free/libre medical system, localizable to any country, and with special emphasis on developing countries. Of course, Medical is not only for emerging economies. Preventive medicine is critical all over the world because health is universal.
What advice would you give to a project that’s just starting out?
Look around first because maybe there is a similar project already started. By joining an existing project, we don’t re-invent the wheel and we avoid fragmentation. Starting up a project is not easy. That being said, if your idea is unique, go for it. It’s very rewarding and it’s great to come up with new ideas and projects.
Where do you see your project going?
I hope it can become a central health information system for provinces and/or countries.
What’s on your project wish list?
To create specific modules for specialties (radiology, psychiatry, etc.). We are working on standards like HL7 and DICOM to be implemented in future versions. We’ll also have a comprehensive clinical lab functionality.
What are you most proud of?
Making a change for those who need it most, with free software. Helping doctors and institutions in developing countries to improve their population’s quality of life.
If you could change something about the project, what would it be?
We are working on the UI. We also want to make a version for small devices. This is hard since there is a lot of info that is needed, but something will come up. Any volunteers?
How do you coordinate the project?
We assign team leaders in different countries. They coordinate the localization process. Bug tracking is done both locally and at SourceForge. We just switched to SourceForge’s Subversion and Trac.
How many hours a month do you and/or your team devote to the project?
Many. Some of us make it part of the daily job. The more people that join the project the easier it gets, though.
What is your development environment like?
Medical is architecture and operating system independent. It works on OpenERP and it’s written in Python.
|September 3, 2008||Initial release 0.0.1|
|September 3, 2010||Version 1.0|
How can others contribute?
There are many ways to help. Documentation, DICOM, HL7 and other standards, testing — Medical is a multi-disciplinary effort. People from computer science, health sciences, sociology, translators, and so on are more than welcome to join the project.
Project name: Medical
Date founded: September, 2008
Project page: http://medical.sourceforge.net
Occupation: Thymbra founder and CEO. Founder of the GNU solidario project
Location: Las Palmas, Spain
Education: Bs Sc in Computer Science and Mathematics, medicine student
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Education: Biochemist, licensed in Public Health
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Education: Computer Engineer
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Education: MD, Pharmacologist
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Education: Anesthesiologist physician, PhD in Neurophysiology, MS in Computer Science
Why did you place the project on SourceForge.net?
SourceForge provides a central point for developing free software. It provides all the tools for developing and collaboration (homepage, Trac, Subversion, etc.)
How has SourceForge.net helped your project succeed?
In many ways. SourceForge increases the visibility of the project, plus it provides a single point of entry for developers.
The number one benefit of using SourceForge.net is:
Its collaborative portal.