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Re: [Gnumed-devel] Gui-Designers was the id_name debate

From: J Busser
Subject: Re: [Gnumed-devel] Gui-Designers was the id_name debate
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 01:18:47 -0700

At 9:06 PM +1000 9/9/04, sjtan wrote:
Installation of OSCAR has so far been a small part. The (lack of) open project management has become a terrible concern. I do not yet have it working to the point of doing anything useful, and everything to this point has been a gamble, but I have been taking a chance on it, and certainly want to pitch in whatever support I can to get gnumed implemented

If its oscar mcmaster,  please enumerate your concerns with it. Maybe post a compare and contrast essay about advantages and disadvantages of oscar compared to gnumed.


1. It is touted as Open Source GPL-licensed however it was developed under the auspices of McMaster University. AFAIK, until the University formally divests itself, it will continue to retain intellectual property rights and could revoke the licence. Yet this is nowhere made clear.

2. Lack of a clear framework, and specifications on which to build. One of the merits of an open source medical system ought to include the ability to get one's data out, but in parts of OSCAR it may not be possible. Vaccination information is for example stored as XML blobs that are meaningless except relative to the form through which the data was managed. Each form apparently permits the creation of an associated table, specific to the form. Possibly every vaccination form, and table, can be different.

3. No modularity. If I wish to modify billing or lab data import to suit my region of Canada, the main trunk has to be hacked.

4. The user interface. I agree that the appointment screen is well thought through and deserves kudos.  However there is no unity of visual design. I had gone into the administration module and had put in all the data concerning a test resident doctor. I went to revise it and then decided that I did not need to. In the centre of the screen were two control buttons, one said "Update record" and the other had a stylized "X". I thought "oh, that must be Cancel". So I clicked it. This deleted the entire profile. Oops - I guess that was "delete". No confirmation.Tucked at the edge of the screen I then noted a hypertext link that said "back".

I wondered how/where to create a new patient. I clicked "Search" tab and in that screen was a link to Create new patient. But if you proceed to search for a patient to find that they do *not* yet exist, you cannot choose do create them here and neither can you click "back" to get to the previous screen. You have to go all the way back to the main screen, then click the Search tab again, then click Create new patient.

To enter a date of birth you must input the YYYY via keyboard but having done so, the next press of the tab key skips the month and day fields, and moves ahead into the health insurance number. This is because the month and day are popups. OSCAR refuses to permit you to create a patient without entering a date of birth, yet permits you to enter a dob of Feb 31, 1990. This goes back to the backend issues. If you create a patient with a duplicate health insurance number, OSCAR complains that "one of the keys has been duplicated" (it does not tell you which key) but this is an after-the-fact prompt, after having already permitted the duplicate record to be created. And so on.

5. Unclear and inadequately collaborative project management and basis / methods for decision-making. Suggestions are acted on if they catch the fancy of the home team. Decisions can seem arbitrary or inconsistent. There is objection to generalizing the code to permit it to run on a Windows server, yet at the same time the code is "standardized" to serve to clients running Internet Explorer. Also see:
and the repl(ies).

Last time I looked at oscar it could do these things ( as far as I remember):
- write scripts ( with the help of some third party dataset)

third party dataset became too expensive, I believe Oscar 2.0 is using drugref

- do appointments ( it shows here the developers understood this domain best )

- take clinical entries ( too many popup browser windows )

- upload files ( documents and images)

as can a Gnumed module

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