Squad Showcase! An OpenMRS Show and Tell

Have you been wondering what the OpenMRS community has been working on this year? Since January, a growing number of squads in the OpenMRS Community are either exploring new technologies like Single Spa, improving existing modules such as OCL for OpenMRS, or in the case of the FHIR module, both. The innovation and collaboration happening in these squads is incredible!

With different squads working on different projects, we know that it can be challenging to keep track of who is doing what and what is available to use.

This is where our new Squad Showcases come in! Last week, we invited five squads to give us a high level overview and demonstration of their work. Each squad was given enough time to share an update, demo their most recent work, and what’s coming next. 

To get a quick idea of what each squad is all about, you can find a rundown of the five squads below. And in case you missed it, you can watch the full showcase on YouTube or use the links below to jump to a specific showcase in the video. If you’re inspired and want to join their conversations, work alongside them, or be among the first to use their solutions, we’ve provided links to their Wiki pages with information about connecting with them and learning more.

OCL for OpenMRS (4:22): No more starting your dictionary or concept management from scratch! Imagine building a COVID or Cancer dictionary once, and then be able to re-use it across any implementation, and share with any organization. No more painful migration script management.

Analytics Engine Squad (formerly known as the ETL Squad) (9:40): OMRS data use for indicator reporting, reduce unplanned technical team member overtime, and to make it easier to drill down to patient-level data.

FHIR Squad (19:28): Imagine a tool that converts data so it’s ready to be shared with other systems – or better yet, data that’s stored ready for interoperability. The FHIR Squad provides tooling to enable the representation of OpenMRS data as FHIR resources and the exchange of these resources with other systems.

COVID-19 Squad (26:12): A collaboration hub where ongoing work is shared for feedback and collaboration. Think setting up forms and workflows for new COVID care requirements. Now, the COVID-19 Squad is focusing on a more robust, easier-to-set-up OMRS to DHIS2 pipeline to support the reporting standards we know are coming for COVID. We want to support both COVID reporting requirements and invest in improvements that can be used for other issues – from HIV and TB, to future pandemics.

Microfrontends Squad (35:39): Imagine rapidly re-using frontend modules other teams created. Imagine trying out new, tablet-friendly modules right away – without the fear that those modules will crash your system. To solve these problems, this squad is creating a new UI framework for OpenMRS  everaging modern javascript frameworks harnessing microservice architecture

Each one of these squads is an example of our shared mission in action: to improve health care delivery in resource-constrained environments by coordinating a global community that creates a robust, scalable, user-driven, open source medical record system platform. 

We aim to hold these squad showcases on a monthly basis, so keep your eyes out for announcements on Talk and Twitter in September about the next one.

This is all thanks to YOU!

The progress that these squads have made in such a short while would not be possible without our community volunteers and in-kind contributions from organizations.

We’d especially like to thank the following organizations for sharing their talent and expertise with our community:

AMPATH (Microfrontends Squad, Analytics Engine Squad, FHIR Squad)

Brown University (Microfrontends Squad, Analytics Engine Squad, FHIR Squad)

Google (FHIR Squad, Analytics Engine Squad)

Intellisoft (FHIR Squad, COVID-19 Squad)

I-TECH/University of Washington (Analytics Engine Squad, FHIR Squad)

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) (OCL for OpenMRS Squad)

Mekom Solutions (Microfrontends Squad)

Palladium (Microfrontends Squad, Analytics Engine Squad)

Partners In Health (Microfrontends Squad, Analytics Engine Squad, FHIR Squad, OCL for OpenMRS, COVID-19 Squad)

Thoughtworks (Microfrontends Squad, OCL for OpenMRS Squad)

And in case you were wondering……

What are squads?

Simply put: squads bring together a small group of individuals to work on a solution to a shared priority or pain point. 

OpenMRS began when a few organizations came together to create a solution for managing patient health records. While our community has grown to include more than 20 organizations and hundreds of community members, squads help us continue this powerful tradition. We usually have a few implementations on the squad and their input is invaluable!

What is the OpenMRS Community’s role? Collaborating does not just happen accidentally; it requires time, planning and dedicating resources to look for and develop opportunities. – Be Collaborative: Digital Principles of Development

At OpenMRS, we know the best solutions happen when we start small and work together – and that collaboration pays off, even if it is not always easy. That’s why we aim to make sure that each squad has someone they can go to in the OpenMRS community that can provide a range of support, guidance, and connect them with other community members and implementations as needed.

Community Management and Operations. Help squads get set up, community management, operations, and communications. (Jennifer Antilla, Director of Community)

Product Management. Product Management support. (Grace Potma, Director of Product)

OpenMRS Development and Architecture. Technical guidance and OpenMRS architecture context. (Daniel Kayiwa, Community Development Lead)

Quality Assurance. Guidance on QA processes, tools, and resources. (Christine Gichuki, Quality Assurance Support Lead)

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