News

Paul Biondich - One Million Reasons to Celebrate our Amazing OpenMRS Community…

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that OpenMRS, Inc. received a $1 million dollar donation from the Pineapple Fund. This donation came as a product of a competitive application process, awarded to initiatives that demonstrate international-scale impact and novel, innovative ways of solving society’s most vexing problems. We are looking forward to using this generous donation to further support our strategic goals, and to increase the long-term sustainability of the OpenMRS community. Stay tuned for more specifics about this important contribution in the days to come.

Read More »

"Local" Healthcare Isn't What It Used To Be

We live in a world where bigger is better.  Our phones are getting bigger.  Our televisions are getting bigger.  Our biggest companies are getting bigger (at least if they are in tech).  Our cars, especially SUVs, are getting bigger.  Our houses are getting bigger. And, in healthcare, our hospitals are getting bigger, our physician practices are getting bigger, our health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers are all getting bigger. It's time to question whether any of this is good.

Update on Patient Matching Activities

I have written several times about patient matching in the US, both in a blog entry and a published article. On December 11, 2017 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) sponsored a half-day “Interoperability in Action” webinar focused on Patient Matching Milestones at ONC (see slides). The webinar focused on four ONC projects from the past year. Here’s a quick run-down on what they covered. Read More »

Why We Need Trauma Trained Educators for National and Regional Disaster Response Teams

Lately, I have been dealing on a number of fronts with natural disasters, and how to help schools and their educators can best deal with their aftermath. At the same time, I have been listening to and learning about disaster team efforts across our nation (from across state and federal government), teams that are dealing with the treacherous aftermath of person-made calamities (floods, fires, shootings, hurricanes, tornados, bombs and car/truck intentional crashes). When Veteran hospitals and facilities are at risk, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers their added expertise too.

Read More »

5 Ways to Invigorate Education with Raspberry Pi

Recently I was invited to talk to a group of eighth grade students about the Raspberry Pi. Of the 15 students and three teachers there, only a few had heard of the Raspberry Pi. None had ever held one in their hand, nor did they know how to set one up or even where to look for information to do so. I spent 40 minutes talking to them and inviting them to explore the Raspberry Pi and the wealth of high-quality, open source software that comes with it. They were energized and eager to learn more...I think something needs to be done, so I am inviting fellow open source advocates to join me in making minor investments in their communities to move the ball forward.

We Have Seen the Future, and It Is...Estonia?

Like me, you may not have been paying close attention to what has been going on in Estonia.  That's probably something many of us should change, at least anyone interested in our digital future(s). OK, I have to admit: I had to look Estonia up on a map.  I knew it was in northern Europe, and that it had been involved in the whole U.S.S.R. debacle.  As it turns out, Estonia sits just across the Gulf of Finland from -- that's right -- Finland, and across the Baltic Sea from Sweden.  Skype was invented there, if you're keeping score. More to the point, over the last twenty years it has evolved into arguable the most advanced digital society in the world.

Read More »

FirstNet for Emergency Communications: 6 Questions Answered

The system nicknamed FirstNet was created by Congress in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Under the contract with the government, the group led by AT&T will build, operate and maintain a new nationwide communications network, providing high-speed wireless communications for public safety agencies and personnel. The network will be protected against unauthorized intrusion and strong enough to withstand disasters that might damage other communications systems. Emergency workers will be able to preempt other users’ traffic on the network, and will be able to send and receive as much data as they need to during their emergency work...

Read More »

Why Social Media Apps Should Be in Your Disaster Kit

With floodwaters at four feet and rising, a family in Houston, Texas abandoned their possessions and scrambled to their roof during Hurricane Harvey to sit with their pets and await rescue. Unable to reach first responders through 911 and with no one visible nearby, they used their cellphones to send out a call for help through a social media application called Nextdoor. Within an hour a neighbor arrived in an empty canoe large enough to carry the family and their pets to safety. Thanks to a collaboration with Nextdoor, we learned of this and hundreds of similar rescues across Harvey’s path...

Read More »

Drones and the Future of Disaster Response

Four continental states and one U.S. territory took a beating this fall as one natural disaster after another rocked communities in Northern California and along the Gulf Coast, spreading disaster relief resources and personnel thin as federal, state, and local governments scrabbled to address the crises. Wildfires in California's wine country claimed at least 42 lives, 8,400 structures, and 245,000 acres of land in October. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma pummeled Louisiana, Texas, and Florida only to be followed by Hurricane Maria, which slammed Puerto Rico on September 20 and left much of the U.S. territory without communications systems, electricity, clean water, or functioning hospitals....

Read More »

Crisis Communication: Saving Time and Lives in Disasters through Smarter Social Media

As the worst bushfires seen for generations in New South Wales raged across the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and the Central Coast two years ago, people urgently needed fast, reliable information – and many turned to their phones to get it. The NSW Rural Fire Service was prepared with a smartphone app, Fires Near Me, which was downloaded almost 200,000 times. At the height of the fires, its Facebook page was recording more than a million views an hour. A social media campaign also helped the NSW Rural Fire Service Facebook community more than double from 120,000 to 280,000, while its Twitter reach jumped from 20,000 to 37,000 followers. Crucially, this helped to alert people to danger areas and places to avoid driving near...

Read More »