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

Greg, I am a little confused about the CHT community being the place to build the design community… it may be, but it traditionally has not focused on exactly the same use cases as OpenMRS. There clearly is some overlap, and it might be that extending the design community needs not only to go beyond the EHR platform specificity, but also mobile platform specificity too. In the past, OpenROSA was the attempt to bring together the mHealth platforms in a collaboration, but I don’t think it really went far. There is as much, or perhaps even more, competition among the mHealth organizations as the EHR platforms. In many respects, I think it makes more sense to try to standardize the centralized representation/platform and allow an ecosystem of mobile platforms to co-exist than the other way around. No negative commentary on Medic Mobile intended! Just want to make sure that we have the historical perspective. I am excited about the opportunity for collaboration regardless of the focal point.

@akanter, thanks for sharing the historical perspective! There’s always so much to be gained by exchanging knowledge and learning from those working on the same issues. I can see where the interest in a design community is coming from.

During sessions in Nairobi and other conversations, I heard many BAs and designers ask “how can we better integrate design into our process here in the OpenMRS community?” - where many developers and implementers have a strong presence. This is an excellent question - and raises additional questions, such as:

  • How can we create and organize a more distinct space within our community specifically for BAs and designers that responds to their interests and needs?
  • How can we then leverage our shared spaces to create greater engagement, connection, and collaboration between our designers, users, developers, and implementers?

Getting back to the original topic, I’ve scheduled a call with Dalberg for Thursday, 18 April at 8:30pm UTC | 4:30pm Boston | 1:30pm Seattle.

Here’s a tentative agenda:

  • Overview: OpenMRS Community, Dalberg
  • Current and potential community projects involving design
  • Discussion: Opportunities for collaboration

To join the call using Audio, Chat, & Screen Sharing please use the latest Firefox, Chrome, or other WebRTC-compatible browser and go to

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@jennifer is this on the OpenMRS Calendar?

@gschmidt Sorry for the late response. Here is the mail I’ve got from Ideo (pretty standard, I guess):

Hi Maciej,

Thanks so much for reaching out to, we appreciate your interest in our organization and human-centered design!

Given the scope of the design opportunity, there likely isn’t a fit with our organizational priorities at this time, but we are happy to point you to individuals and other firms that might be more relevant. Please see the attached referral list and best of luck with your project.

Again, we greatly appreciate your interest; please do not hesitate to reach out in the future if you see another potential area to engage with us.

All the best,

Brynn Kolada

In the attachment was a list of companies similar to the IDEO, but all of them were for-profit, without any CSR / Social Impact programs, that OpenMRS could apply for.

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Hey @akanter, I agree that where/how to organize such a project feels a little confusing right now :). I’m optimistic we could work this out though in a way that gets clearer over time.

As an organization, Medic Mobile is interested in exploring how we might implement OpenMRS in tandem with the CHT, and how we as an organization might contribute to the OMRS community. We have a strong UI/UX team and this seems like an area we might be able to add value. That interest is distinct from our organization’s contributions to the CHT, though recently we’ve been discovering that there’s more overlap in needed UI components than we had previously realized. Part of what what interests me about this project is that contributing to design projects for OpenMRS might teach the Medic Mobile team things that we could also contribute back to the CHT. So there is overlap in OMRS and CHT interests/needs here. If this sort of UI/UX project proves useful, it will probably involve a series of conversations in various places and Medic Mobile taking part doesn’t need to mean the conversation happens in any particular place.

I also agree that it’s probably best for the OpenMRS community if we try to separate a conversation about how to improve OpenMRS UI/UX design from conversations about how the OMRS platform interacts with the various mobile technologies in this space (although OMRS-CHT integration is a topic I’ll certainly be interested in on other threads!). I think we can achieve this by focusing this project on reusable UI components and UX design patterns that can be implemented by any OMRS front end framework. Doing something of this kind on UI/UX is important not just for users’ quality of life, but also because of the growing evidence that usability has a big impact on quality of care (see e.g. 1, 2). There are good examples of open source UI component libraries that we could draw from directly or/and use as inspiration for how to establish the kind of UI library that developers can find helpful and not feel constrained by. For example I think one of the key questions we could start with is, how might we use Google’s Material Design spec to establish a set of EHR UI components that follow usability and accessibility conventions and agree with web design patterns that users are likely to already be familiar with?

@gschmidt, does this resonate with how you’re thinking about the project? And @akanter, I’d be curious to hear if this framing of the project feels like it answers your questions reasonably well, or if you have additional ideas/suggestions about how to approach this sort of UI/UX agenda?

  1. Enhancing patient safety and quality of care by improving the usability of electronic health record systems: recommendations from AMIA
  2. Identifying Electronic Health Record Usability And Safety Challenges In Pediatric Settings

Hi @akanter, @isaacholeman’s post above does a good job explaining how we see User Interface & Technology as complimentary, but distinct areas for collaboration in health informatics. I’d suggest a third pillar may be ‘reporting & data standards’ (indicators, concept dictionaries, etc).

The conversations Isaac and I have had around UX collaboration, isn’t about prescribing a specific method on how EHR / mHealth tools are to be designed, but provide the right forum to shared R&D in this area, and make it easy to find the best practices, and even working components.

The concept of collaborating on a ‘Component Library / Toolkit’ provides two benefits. It provides

  1. An outlined set of areas where the UX community can share R&D on past work in this area
  2. A usable set of components that can be used in the code.

For instance, the ‘medication list’ components, can include past R&D groups have done in this area, screenshots, examples of good & bad medication lists, and past papers published on this. It can also host a series of functional medication lists React and Angular components that can be used directly in the code. [If on the technical side, we standardize the data calls using FHIR for these elements it increase their cross-application functionality].

Although Medic Mobile’s tools are primarily for mHealth and CHW, they do render similar types of information - such as showing medication lists, family relationships, immunization status, to-do lists, patient demographics, blood pressures, prenatal histories.