Dear Chris and Luis,
Let me add my voice to this debate and I apologize in advance if my "straight talk" hurt community members.
I am happy to see that GNU health is really getting the attention that it deserves from health professional at global level. I have worked for big health institutions. I tested and developed a number of health related applications. Most of these systems were aimed at delivering statistics. This is indeed what most of these institutions are merely interested in (from an IT point of view).
In my opinion (this is only my opinion), GNU Health is mature enough to be used as a standard and multi-purpose health application. This includes all the needs expressed by Chris. It is based on Tryton. I would not repeat here the robustness, reliability and flexibility of this platform. It includes all health related standards (including ICD-10). More, The patient is at the core of the system. It is free and Open source software. GNU Health has a very detailed patient database. Of course we should make a difference between the database and the interface of system. The interface can be extended by adding new modules. However the core of the system does not need to be changed.
The challenge I experienced with most applications and most IT projects developed in big organization is that:
1/ They were initiated to satisfy the needs of these organizations, not the needs of those who really need it (the health professionals on the field). Why: because most international actions on health (EBOLA and now Zika) are still what I will call "event-based". This means that most funds and resources are allocated to the diseases that make the most "noise", those that will be announced in big media like CNN. Although I agree that it is important to focus our attention on these diseases, we should not forget the primary focus of GNU Health:
- To improve the health of the people in the small cities and rural areas of Africa, Latin America or Asia
- To bring equity in health
GNU Health is definitely achieving this goal.
2/ UP to now there was very little interest in developing IT tools that will improve the work of health professionals on the field. Even Ebola has not changed that. Fortunately GNU Health is going against this trend.
Most doctors continue spending hours dealing with issues that could be improved if they had tools like GNU Health. A lot of patients die for the same reason.
Did we ask ourselves the questions why these epidemics are recurring? Luis mentioned it a little bit. How can you call a disease "neglected tropical" disease. Who is neglecting what?
3/ Having said that the main challenge currently is to promote GNU Health. No matter how much effort it will take, let's make sure that each health professional in developing countries know about this wonderful system (GNU Health). Let's make sure that most of them have tested it. The Tryton and GNU Health community have done a wonderful job. Let's make sure GNU Health reach the health professionals on the field.