OpenMRS UI/UX Toolkit Design for Electronic Medical Records/eHealth Usage

Continuing the discussion from Design Time for EHR UX Re-Design - Concept Demo:

I am a big fan of leveraging Twitterboostrap to help provide foundation styling across the application and UI elements those we know and those we have to think about.

This has been in a process for over 18 months since I first proposed it and I think I understand why

UI/UX stuff is a specialized skill and cannot be done by volunteer resources alone

I would like to make a recommendation that the community and leadership consider funding, resourcing and commissioning an UI/UX person/team to design and develop a custom toolkit for OpenMRS basically a toolkit that can be leveraged and customized by upstream implementors going forward.

This is an extension of a style guide but even more involved, I am looking at the following:

  • Components - search tables, display widgets, graphs
  • Forms - tabs, sections, single/multiple selection options, medication/dispensing/diagnosis widgets within a form (irrespective of whether it is HTML Form Entry of other module UIs)
  • Cards (widgets) - editable and non-editable widgets, summary information and detailed information etc
  • Pages - patient registration summary, disease summary (baseline ART, NCD, oncology assessment)
  • Dashboards - 1-2 and 3 column dashboards with cards to show the different widgets
  • Responsive to monitor, tablet, smartphone useage
  • Also includes support for mobile app design

The tool kit should be useable with Bootstrap, Angular/React/Vue OWAs (we have a mix of all of them currently in RefApp) with more on the way over the next 3-5 years.

cc @c.antwi

We just implemented something like this at my day job (Intelligent Medical Objects) and it was was huge success. I would recommend this highly!

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We should get a sense of the overall cost, but I definitely agree this is something to seriously consider funding.

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@ssmusoke Well noted. I look into how this can be resolved.

One thing we should do is to consider if it’s appropriate for one of the funding opportunities that @maciej has identified, and is posting at

If I find some time this week, I’ll try to find if there are any opportunities that would fit this specific topic of UX/UI or maybe there are some organizations that would be interested in helping us with this (I remember reading something about designers for social good, but I have to investigate this further)

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Did some research:

If we are talking about grants strictly for UI/UX design: I didn’t found one and I don’t think there is one. This topic is probably not attractive for potential donors and various foundations.

Maybe we could add this to one of more general opportunities (like Cisco Grant), but then we would need then to show how UI/UX redesign would help people in need and show it’s social value. Most important, we would also need budget (not specific, but more or less) for this before writing any proposal, just to know if we can fit it into various grants limits.

If we are talking about organizations, there are some design non-profit companies that are specializing with work for social good projects. Still, their work isn’t free, just about half as expensive than services from traditional companies. I’ve found only one organization, that offers help with finding funding for their work - I’ve filled out their contact form from website, if there’s gonna be any feedback from them, I’ll let you know.

There are some websites that are connecting specialist (also UX/UI ones) with non-profits for volunteer work, if you are interested, we could try posting requests on them.

Not sure if this helped, if you have any questions, let me know.

A whilie ago, I learned that USAID and Gates have come up with a set of resources called Design for Health. I went poking around and there are quite a few resources (Why design for health?) that could be used to make the connection between UI/UX redesign and broader social value.

Here are the links to the main Design for Health website and a Devex article.


Thank you some much! This helps me not only as a resource for future proposals, but we can also reach out to some of the participating organizations from Design for Health and ask them if they can help us in any way with this project.

EDIT: I’ve send e-mail to 4 different organizations from Design for Health list. If I get any response from them, I’ll paste it in the reply.

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I’ve got response from Dalberg (Robert Fabricant):

Hi Maciej: we are very familiar with OpenMRS and its high level of adoption and use in public health systems. our team would love to have the opportunity to collaborate with you and develop a design toolkit. you are right that it can be tricky to get funders to invest purely in UX support. often it is best positioned as part of a broader effort to either increase adoption and sustainability in key markets, or else improve usage and provide better data and performance metrics. Happy to jump on a call next week to discuss if that would be helpful. And happy to work with you to approach some key funders together to see if we can crack this nut. Best, [R]

Here you can find some information about them, in a nutshell, they are a design (and also consulting, research, data, etc.) company focused on social impact projects.

Here is my e-mail, that I’ve sent to them (for context):

Maciej Neumann SolDevelo Social Impact Foundation on behalf of OpenMRS community Hello, Open Medical Record System (OpenMRS) is an open source health information technology system. It is the most used medical record system platform in developing countries. OpenMRS system works in over 3,000 medical sites for about 8.7 million patients in over 64 countries, including South Africa, Rwanda, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Haiti, India, China, United States, Pakistan, the Philippines, and many others ( The annual report for specific details about our users, as well our developer community: OpenMRS was created as a response to the challenges presented by pandemics of epic proportions, as over 40 million people are infected with diseases such as HIV/AIDS, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis or malaria. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure adequate and appropriate protection of the patients, communities, and healthcare workers that document medical care using OpenMRS. We are thinking right now about creating OpenMRS UI/UX Toolkit Design for Electronic Medical Records/eHealth Usage. Unfortunately, during our work on this topic we found out that UI/UX work is a specialized skill and cannot be done by volunteer resources alone. We want to ask you about, if you can help us in any way with this topic. We found out, that you are one of the supporting organizations of “Design for Health”. Can you recommend us any foundation or grant, which could help us fund this project? Do you know any organization that could show us the best approach for this?

Who would be interested in participating in this call? @ssmusoke, @c.antwi do you have time next week? Anyone else from @Leadership ? I would like to join in this call and prepare some funding opportunities, that maybe could fit in this project - but we also have to choose date and hour that could be right for everyone.

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I would like to be involved. Thanks for all that you are doing.

I’d like to hear more - count me in.

Hi There

Apologies for the late reply, I was away on leave. Definitely let us schedule a call as soon as possible.


Did this call happen?

@maciej Did this call ever happen? What was the outcome?

Call did not happen - I didn’t get the reply from them about proposed date and time of the meeting. I think we could try again (there was some obvious problems with communication, both between us and with them), but we would need someone to organize it and keep an eye on this.

Dalberg reached out about re-scheduling this call - good timing considering our discussions around OpenMRS Flow!

If you are interested in participating in this initial call, please share your availability using this Doodle poll.

@ssmusoke @c.antwi @gschmidt @jteich @isaacholeman @mogoodrich @jdick

Thanks for looping me in @jennifer! I’m at the Design for Health conference with Pragya Mishra from Dalberg Design and I’ll ask if she’s involved in this project at all. I’ve also sent this to the designers at Medic Mobile in case the conversation ends up happening at a time that I’m not able to make.

Thanks for setting this up. Also, @maciej - did IDEO get back to you last year?

Almost weekly I speak with people who are interested in participating in such a community around best practices for EHR UX/UI with sample design component libraries, icons, specifications, etc. A place to bring together: UX designers, EHR researchers, EHR users, and implementors.

From my perspective, the Community Health Toolkit (CHT) may be the right place to build this community.

The CHT provides a neutral 3rd party environment where experts from different medical record communities and apps can collaborate. I think OpenMRS community can bring to CHT expertise in EHR specific UX principles, and CHT’s founding steward, Medic Mobile, can bring experience in modern design methodology.

A hard part will be developing an open-source design community. My impression is that the way of how open-source design communities operate is nowhere as developed as open-source software.

If there was a way to involve groups like Dalberg, IDEO, and others who are already contracted for global health IT work in other projects; and open-source their research, designs, and expertise back into the CHT community, I think that would be really cool.


This is an exciting idea @gschmidt, and I know others in the CHT community would be excited to participate. I agree that the design community has less experience/track-record with open source collaboration than the software community, but that also means we can try something new! I’m in Dakar right now for the Design for Health meeting and had some great conversations with people from Dalberg, IDEO, as well as smaller global health and development focused design consultancies like Sonder, The Nairobi Design Institute, and Vihara. We may lack the time/resources to involve every firm from the very beginning, but talking about a vision like that might influence how we organize the work. I know the Medic Mobile design team would be stoked to help coordinate such an effort.