Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Back to Ubuntu Medical, for a short while…

First off, let me say that we were blown away with the response to what was initially just a little idea – a dream to do something to uplift technology infrastructure in the South African industry that needs it the most.

Thank you for all the responses, comments and advice.

Now comes the tricky part. What to do with all this information? Well, thankfully we’ve met a couple of keen individuals who might be able to push this project in some kind of direction – and we’ll be chatting with them over the next couple of months.

A contact in the South African medical administration (ie. Government) would be helpful!? Nothing happens in South Africa if it doesn't go through official channels. It's a project killer - so we'd prefer to meet people who can have those conversations first!

For everyone’s benefit, including my own, here’s a summary of related topics/sites/projects that people have been kind enough to post. I’ve had a look at all of them, and commented where appropriate.


GNUMed
This is an already developed (ver 0.2.3) medical system. The package seems to be built more towards practice management (which obviously entails elements of patient management – a feature we stressed was critical in the South African context). They are careful to say:

GNUmed is not currently intended for hospital IT (Information Technology)



But, it seems like GNUMed does support our Proudly South African operating system of choice - Ubuntu – Debian releases available here.

Here’s what I’d like to know – would GNUMed be interested in putting together a slightly friendlier interface, and seeing if the product could be adapted to a internet-networked hospital environment? If so, post a comment!


Ndiyo
Ndiyo is a project based around providing computing power to many users cheaply and efficiently. Their project provides “ultra-thin” clients available to multiple users. Need to do some more research into the offering, but this UK based NGO (it seems) might offer a potential solution to the infrastructure issues SA hospitals suffer.

It certainly sounds more effective than getting a first world donation of aging equipment that would have to be maintained on a per-machine basis?


Linux Medical News
A collection of links pointing readers to what’s going on with Linux and medical applications. I couldn’t find many examples of patient management software currently being developed – but the site seems to be more of an aggregator than anything else. Will keep an eye on it nonetheless.


Linux for Clinics
Now, THIS looked like the jackpot. Linux distribution / software / tools specifically intended for a clinic environment – however, the forums don't seem to be overly active since last year. Is this a common problem with Open Source projects? It’s not people losing interest – it’s people unable to stay dedicated to a time-consuming project? I hope I’m wrong.


Seems like they are using a portion of the Ubuntu logo for their own – but a comment by Wouter suggested they might have moved off Ubuntu to another distribution. Shall register and see!


Debian Med
Debian, as far as I can gather, is what Ubuntu Linux is based on – therefore the tools and projects listed at this site would work perfectly. Overriding concern still stands. Linux is tricky for non-techies – and having to install multiple packages which may or may not talk to each other sounds like a support nightmare.

How to get around that issue? I’m not sure…


There it is for a start. Some forums to join, some people to email. Keep subscribed - and we'll let you know if things get going!

9 comments:

Sebastian Hilbert said...

-- This is an already developed (ver 0.2.3) medical system. The package seems to be built more towards practice management (which obviously entails elements of patient management – a feature we stressed was critical in the South African context).

Actually we focus very much on patient management. Right now take a look at
this link to see what GNUmed can do.


-- “GNUmed is not currently intended for hospital IT (Information Technology)”

The technology might scale but we ourselves are doctor in non hospital environments so we cater (non-exclusively) for that.

-- Here’s what I’d like to know – would GNUMed be interested in putting together a slightly friendlier interface,

Please elaborate. GNUmed's interface is totally seperate from the underlying medical/technical stuff. You can write almost any interface you want (web, gui, console/text-based). Strongly depends on what *exactly you want*

There is a seperate team (mostly Australia) that works on a totally new graphical user interface. We guys from Germany concentrate on the stuff below teh surface because GUI can easily be exchanged. GUI is quite well seperated.

-- and seeing if the product could be adapted to a internet-networked hospital environment?

What is meant by that ? This works already. Just download the portable client to an USB drive like here here and connect to our database freely available over the internet (choose salaam.homeunix.com)

As for Debain-med. These guys are maintaining a meta-distribution so with Debian-med you get Debian configured with lots of medical packages.

Anonymous said...

"Is this a common problem with Open Source projects? It’s not people losing interest – it’s people unable to stay dedicated to a time-consuming project? I hope I’m wrong."

You are wrong, it just has to be the right project. Conduct your search again in 2008 and you will find what you are looking for.

James Archibald said...

Hi there

I am a journalist for Tectonic.co.za, a South African based news site focusing on open source software. I would be interested in speaking to the two of you to do a story on your progress with Ubuntu Medical. I'm sure that amongst our readers will be a couple of people who could help out on the software development side of things. Please drop me an email at: james(at)tectonic(dot)co(dot)za and I can hopefully help out and get a story out of this at the same time.

Christopher said...

I'd be curious to hear this blogs response to the UK's Crisp Report:

http://www.e-health-insider.com/news/item.cfm?ID=2479
[News report and link to the full report]

Particularly the concept of the "Global Health Exchange" as described.

Thanks - Christopher

Andy Hadfield said...

Will definitely check it out...

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That's interesting. And irrelevant.

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Ubuntu connects people and their ideas. I like this Distribution and i have seen some PC-Dealers (www.qblock.eu) selling their PCs with Ubuntu.

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