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    OpenMRS 2010 meeting – It’s all about community

    15 Sep

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    The Singing Geeks of OpenMRS 2010 from Isaac Holeman on Vimeo.

    One of the several open source software platforms we work with is called OpenMRS – it’s an electronic medical records system designed for managing patient information in treatment programs (such as HIV or TB), as well as primary care. Generally the niche for OpenMRS is with larger scale, more well resourced programs (in contrast with PatientView, which has more limited features and is much easier to use for minimally resourced projects). Although OpenMRS is used all over the world, it’s design emphasizes the needs of health care workers in the regions where we work – especially Africa.

    Dieterich and I (Isaac) recently attended the annual OpenMRS meeting and it was great. Dieterich has been working very hard on a messaging module that will enable health workers to send SMS and other types of messages via OpenMRS, and his demo was very well received. I had a great time brainstorming with friends and mentors from all over the world, particularly including Zeshan Rajput who has played an instrumental leadership role in our messaging module project, Paul Biondich who is a key member of our board of advisors, and too many others to count.

    One of the key elements of this meeting was the sense of community, and the clear agreement that the meeting itself wasn’t just about understanding our software application, it was about building relationships and a collegial atmosphere that will keep this good work moving forward despite many inevitable challenges. As Burke said, it’s more like camp than like a conference.

    The video above is one of many examples (perhaps the silliest) of this community building. As the first vocalist, I sang “Cheek to Cheek” with spiced up lyrics. Next up is Dr. Paul Biondich, a cofounder/president of OpenMRS and director of the World Health Organization’s collaborating center on medical informatics singing a classic we all know and love. Third, a gentleman who I do not know… I hope people will let me know his name and the name of his song in the comments. Finally, the great instigator Chris Bailey of the knowledge management division at the World Health Organization, singing entirely new lyrics to a familiar tune that I can’t quite recall… can you help me name that tune?

    You can read more about OpenMRS on their website, or follow them on twitter. Thanks to Burke Mamlin for filming our songs.

    3 Responses to “OpenMRS 2010 meeting – It’s all about community”

    1. Trinh Malama

      The imagination is the limit. As long as the brain can envision the very fact that you can do a thing, you can do it

    2. Nadim

      Quite the singing voice, Isaac!

    3. gmeltdown

      You are right Isaac – there is more of community in OpenMRS than the software. The meeting was full of insights. I can’t remember the name of the third gentleman who sang. I remember though, he was from Rwanda and his song was ‘Jambo Bwana’ – inviting guys to visit Rwanda – in Swahili