12 Students Picked to Work on OpenMRS Projects as Part of the Google Summer of Code 2018 Program

Congratulations and a warm welcome to the 12 students selected for Google Summer of Code 2018, and extended thanks to our fantastic group of OpenMRS project mentor volunteers, as well as all students that submitted applications this year! A total of 1,264 students from 64 different countries have been accepted to work with more than 200 open source projects for GSoC 2018. Since 2007, OpenMRS has enjoyed participating in this great program, and we’re thrilled to be involved again this year, marking our 12th year of participation. We’re looking forward to working with a diverse set of students and mentors across a range of exciting and impactful projects.

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On the Need to Improve User-Centered Design (i.e. Design Thinking) for Healthcare IT Usability

The lack of usability of electronic health records (EHRs) and healthcare IT applications, in general, has been in the news a lot again. This time it is a research report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on March 27. The study analyzed voluntary error reports associated with EHR systems and found that problems with EHR usability may have directly resulted in patient harm. Unfortunately, this situation is all too common in the healthcare industry. Numerous health care systems are designed and created ad hoc, or with a very engineering-centric approach. End users are dissatisfied and often systems or workflows are abandoned and/or dangerous work-a-rounds created. A lot of people are saying Healthcare IT needs a disruption. What HealthIT needs is to begin to learn about and understand the needs, goals, and methods of the actual end-users, like doctors, nurses, medical assistants, etc.

Mainstream Academia Embraces Open Source Hardware

Twenty years ago, even staunch proponents of free and open source software like Richard Stallman questioned the social imperative for free hardware designs. Academics had barely started to consider the concept; the number of papers coming out annually on the topic were less than could be counted on someone's fingers. Not anymore! Not only has the ethical authority of Stallman embraced free hardware and free hardware design, but so has the academic community. Consider the graph below, which shows the number of articles on open source hardware indexed by Google Scholar each year from 2000 to 2017. In the last 17 years, the concept of open source hardware has erupted in ivory towers throughout the world. Now more than 1,000 articles are written on the topic every year.

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