Technical Action Committee Updates and Discussion

Happy New Year, everyone!

Based on discussions in Maputo, we’re changing the TAC’s meeting time as we’ll be spending this month fleshing out the technical vision @burke talked about in Maputo.

According to December’s Doodle poll, Wednesdays are out and Fridays might be in - at 7:30pm IST | 5pm Nairobi | 4pm Cape Town | 2pm UTC | 9am Boston | 6am Seattle. That said, Doodle’s time zones have had a mind of their own recently, so please confirm your availability or take the poll if you haven’t already. @burke @mseaton @mksd @dkayiwa

Hi @jennifer, happy new year!

This Doodle is for Monday only, I can only do Fridays with certainty.

Fridays are typically a good day for me to meet. I think we will need to update that Doodle Poll you linked to with some additional options if it is to be useful (at least it doesn’t show very many options to me any more).

Friday’s also work for me, but Monday’s I have too many standing meetings to attend another one.

Yes, the doodle pool is currently only showing me two time slots (both on Monday) as options…

Oh Doodle! I re-set the poll with times on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, so please use the link below and not the previous ones. I didn’t change the dates since we’re trying to find a recurring day + time.

Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone! The earlier time on Friday won’t work for @burke and also conflicts with monthly Bahmni Governing Committee meetings. :slight_smile:

Can we try Fridays at 8:30pm IST | 6pm Nairobi | 5pm Cape Town | 3pm UTC | 10am EST | 7am PST?

Is this UTC-based – i.e., during daylight savings time from March to November it would be Fridays at 8:30pm IST | 6pm Nairobi | 5pm Cape Town | 3pm UTC | 11am EDT | 8am PDT?

That could work for me, except that it’s not what the Doodle shows.

This works for me

Here are some of the key points and decisions from last week’s TAC/PCC call:

  • This meeting is now a joint meeting of the TAC and the PCC, so we should expect there to be some tension between product and technical - this is good!

  • Being on the same page about where we’re headed and what near term wins are is as important as having a core group of developers

  • We expect this group to:

    • Have a shared vision for community development
    • Connect directly with implementations and understand why certain work is being prioritized
    • Track, understand, and respond to what is “hot” in the community
    • Ensure decisions get made when a specific decision is a blocker for the community
  • Known needs may not be at the forefront of developers/implementer’s minds (maintenance, performance, reliability, etc)

  • We are custodians of the shared community artifacts, which comprises the Platform, the Ref App, Microfrontends, and integrated components (like ETL)

We’re still committed to make sure that each meeting moves towards action and that work to be done in between meetings is specific and clear.

For more details, read the notes or listen to the recording.

During our Technical Action Committee (TAC) kickoff meetings, @mseaton asked the perfect question:

What are we doing?

This wasn’t just a the right question for the TAC group; it’s a great question for OpenMRS. With a growing community, expanding opportunities, constrained resources, an aging codebase, and a variety of incompatible frontends, it’s more important than ever for us to have a shared vision of what we are doing.

We started out by enumerating potential areas of focus for TAC:

  • Platform maintenance (Library updates, Performance issues, Memory leaks, Security)
  • API curation (REST documentation, FHIR API, Road Map for API)
  • Architecture (Microservices, Cloud support, CDS, Switching to PostgreSQL, Forms support)
  • Vertical solutions (HIV, TB, NCD, Maternal Child Health, Retrospective data entry, …)
  • Mobile OpenMRS (Android & iOS clients, progressive web applications)
  • Integration (OCL, SMS, Lab, Pharmacy, Inventory, HR, DHIS2, smart devices, …)
  • UI Strategy (Web Framework 3.0 road map, migrating from OWAs, UX design framework, patient-facing UIs)
  • Reporting (ETL)
  • Community tooling (SDK, migration to OpenMRS, or between OpenMRS versions, packaging artifacts, Docker images)
  • Strategic Decisions (EMR platform/middleware vs “full” EMR, harvesting from existing efforts)

Early goals for TAC will be to refine this list and prioritize some areas for which we can produce artifacts (Talk posts, blog posts, white papers, or project plans) that the community can use to align our efforts.

For more details, read the notes or listen to the recording.

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We came out of Friday’s discussion with some action items to help decide what we should focus on:

  • @mksd created a survey for ranking the items that were identified at last week’s meeting (see @burke’s post above). Already done!
  • @ibacher @mseaton @dkayiwa committed to filling this out by next Friday, February 7.
  • I agreed to send out this out to a few people who couldn’t make it, like @burke, @mogoodrich, and @jdick. I’ll also aim to send reminders every other day.

@mogoodrich raised some questions about oversight of what goes into the Ref App + Platform and how we maintain our technical products. The good news is that we’re in the process of filling the TPM position - and we recognize that there are still some resource gaps that we need to figure out how to address. We decided to tackle some of these questions on a future call.

Here’s a link to the notes and the recording.

Hi @Jennifer, it is rather unfortunate that I could not make this week meeting, but I got on the room at 3:15pm and it hasn’t started, I thought it was post-poned.

Hi @morrisng! I think I see the issue: the call is at 3pm UTC | 4pm Abuja. I’ll update the announcements moving forward. In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out the survey and join us this coming Friday to review + discuss.

@jennifer @mksd regarding the survery, I assume we can think of the 0 to 2 rankings as ranking for priority?

Because 0 is “not wanted/needed” and I suspect as I go through the list there is going to be very little that I truly don’t want but there’s a lot that I consider lowest on the priority scale.

Sorry if I’m being a little too literal… :slight_smile:

Take care, Mark

@mogoodrich I have tried to keep it simple with the 0-1-2 choices, but feel free to put in any real number between 0 and 2, I think @angshuonline did that with some items. That’ll work for the averages :slight_smile:

It seems like some really good discussion. I wonder whether the strategic questions (whether we build something or integrate other work, whether we simply deliver a tool/platform or a fully working EHR) are sufficiently different from the functionality or coding rows that they deserve a separate discussion/ranking? I would want us to include historical perspective on that discussion which cannot be captured in a simple ranking (of the strategic questions)

Yes, @akanter, there was some really good discussion - and it’s not over!

Key points and action items are below. There are now more detailed notes and if you want to listen to the whole thing, here is a link to the recording.

Key Points

Technical Priorities

  • A core set of common priorities emerged from the ranking survey.
  • For strategic discussions, this is more about ranking the discussion topics in terms of priority.
  • There are many in the community who want a full EMR solution/product. Working on something that large may not be the best use of the TAC
  • A way to balance this may be to focus on the core and enabling collaboration on the broader EMR functionality that the community wants
  • The TAC needs to define what is meant by core

DIAL Catalytic Grant

  • No clear scopes emerged that can be done for $15k.
  • Consider submitting for assistance with an interoperability strategy.


We didn’t get far into this, but @mseaton posed some great questions:

Action Items

  • Publish the rankings to the broader community for additional review/feedback
  • Review the items and indicate what they consider core

@mksd @ibacher @mseaton @dkayiwa, please chime in with anything that you’d like to call out or clarify.

Here are the key points and decisions from today’s TAC meeting:

Patient Level Indicator Reporting

COVID-19 Response

Tech Radar

  • Burke gave a five minute overview
  • Those on the call voted on a date to update the Tech Radar. This poll is still open!

Technical Vision Briefs

  • @burke and @jennifer propose following the same format as @burke’s Amazing future post
  • Use these to drive work towards the vision by breaking them into independent chunks of work, what they would deliver, and how they work together
  • Proposed prioritization:
    • ETL
    • FHIR
    • Fellowship
    • MF
    • Concept & Metadata Management (OCL)
    • Configuration Management

Technical Roadmap

  • @burke owes us a Talk post
  • We brainstormed some initial ideas to include in the post.

Please see the notes and/or listen to the recording for more details.

For notes and recordings from previous meeting, see the TAC’s Wiki page.

Have questions or comments? Please share them here or join our next meeting on Friday, 20 March 2020 at 3pm UTC.

@mksd @mseaton @jdick @dkayiwa @wanyee @janflowers @akanter @aojwang @morrisng @ssmusoke