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.
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 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, 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!