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Happy New Year Contributors!

on Sun, 02/05/2012 - 15:06

Dear Fellow Contributors:

As 2011 winds down, it seems worthwhile to take a look at where we have reached on this ambitious journey. Conceived only earlier this year, the operations of the Raxa JSS EMR project began in earnest in August with the recruitment of all of you whose contributions now form the backbone of this project. Contributors from leading academic departments of computer science and health information (e.g. Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, NYU, IIT-D, IIIT), software companies (e.g. Microsoft, Google), user experience designers as well as interested healthcare and management professionals were the first interested parties. With the help of JSS staff, we created User Stories – detailed, granular, accounts of health information flow within JSS – and started converting those User Stories into User Interface designs and then software blueprints. Next, we divided up our efforts into modules and created an aggressive timeline to finish the initial development effort by the summer of 2012. We created an online wiki, elicited interest from our fast-growing bank of volunteers via online forms and allocated them into module development teams. On the 23rd of October 2011, during Stanford’s Code-the-Change Hackathon at Facebook’s campus in Palo Alto, CA, the first lines of code were committed to our project and we were on our way.

Today, on the eve of the New Year, we can count more than a hundred volunteer contributors amongst us. Designers, developers, technology gurus and healthcare professionals located all around the world collaborate on the Internet knitted together by multiple weekly meetings in cyberspace. We have ambitious goals for our software; 1) We want it to be easily upgraded and are using HTML5/CSS/Javascript as our technologies, 2) We want it to leverage existing work and are thus using OpenMRS (with able support by the OpenMRS community) and 3) we want it to be useful for people with limited literacy and connectivity such as those served by JSS – we have a large voice initiative organized by world leaders in speech processing at Carnegie Mellon as a sub-project which aims to connect providers, Community Health Workers (CHWs) and patients with our larger system.

The doctors and staff at JSS are now using a pharmacy management system that will connect to our software and are getting excited about the benefits that the rest of the system will bring to the patients at JSS. Our efforts have piqued interest - other groups in India and elsewhere are showing interest in implementing our system, once it is functional, amongst their populations and in their practices. While this project is ambitious and would ordinarily cost millions of dollars to implement, we have gone further than we imagined possible with just voluntary support and hard work from all of you. In the New Year we will start raising funds for the project – to create the support structure and staff that will ensure the success and future of this effort.

2012 will be a busy but exciting time for the Raxa JSS EMR. In January, we hope to complete the implementation of the first set of modules and commence the development of the remaining modules earmarked for the first rollout. We plan to have the initial development completed by April and, after testing and bug-zapping, hope to have the system up and running at JSS shortly after. Following that, as data is generated in the system, we will start generating the analytics and other data and create the extensibility that will make the system informative and valuable for others. While this will take more hard work, we are creating something truly unique – a digital information system that will positively impact people’s health across the world.

From all of us, thank you for your contributions and we wish you a very Happy New Year!

Raxa JSS EMR Project

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