Does anyone have experience with integrating Medic Mobile into District Health Information Software 2?
I am looking for an interoperable SMS platform and wondering if Medic Mobile is a good fit--and how much customization would be required.
Thanks in advance!
Thanks for posting here. I have passed your question onto the Medic Mobile team, who should be able to get back to you on this soon.
I'm sorry I don't have experience in Mobile Medic but I believe your question is a good one and hope to learn more from the feedback.
The short answer is no, this hasn't been done. But it's been thoroughly investigated, so some background may be helpful.
Medic Mobile is not the name of any software; Medic Mobile is the name of a nonprofit organization (which I work for) that has used a bunch of different open source software, including FrontlineSMS, FrontlineForms, PatientView, OpenMRS, the Baobab touch screen EMR, EpiSurveyor, SIM card apps and other web applications for organizing health services. These tools can fit together in different ways in different contexts.
We have often used FrontlineForms to enter aggregate forms data (like monthly reports) into a java application on java enabled phones, and submit the data to FrontlineSMS via SMS. This data can be exported to .csv file - a spreadsheet and DHIS2 has the ability to import data in spreadsheet format. This is a solid approach if you 1) are starting with aggregate data, and 2) can't rely on mobile internet.
DHIS2 also has its own java application for collecting aggregate data. I just tested it yesterday and it looks a lot like FrontlineForms, except it submits data only via mobile internet. This approach is probably more convenient if you 1) are starting with aggregate data, and 2) have reliable mobile internet in your area.
PatientView is a plugin that can be packaged with version 1.7 of FrontlineSMS. It has basic patient profiles, Community Health Worker (CHW) profiles, Patients can be assigned to CHWs and CHWs can use FrontlineForms to submit data about patients or to initiate new patient records via the phone. There's also a feature for automating SMS appointment notifications for routine care schedules such as a standard vaccination or antenatal care schedule that is the same X, Y and Z weeks after birth or before expected date of delivery. We're doing some cool randomized controlled trials using this functionality in India, Ethiopia and soon Kenya and Bangladesh.
Exporting data from PatientView is not automatic or straightforward right now for non-technical users. It could of course be done by a programmer, but our team has stopped developing PatientView in light of changes to the underlying FrontlineSMS platform between versions 1.7 and 2.0 of FrontlineSMS. 2.0 has an entirely new code base. There are many big advantages to the new software architecture but it also means that the old plugins (including PatientView and others) are obsolete - they also have to be built from scratch to work with 2.0 and generally be supported moving forward. So we're encouraging partners not to start new projects with PatientView unless or until you're sure it already meets 100% of your essential requirements, or if you have developers who want to customize it on their own. Exporting data in a convenient way that could easily import into DHIS is not one of the features, but it could in theory be done directly from the mysql database (where PatientView stores data) using a mysql reporting tool like clear reports or jasper reports (we've never done this before).
OpenMRS is a more hardcore electronic medical records system. It tends to require more expertise and configuration to get up and running, which is one of the reasons we initially built PatientView. Recent improvements have made it much easier to implement though, for example google OpenMRS Appliance. OpenMRS also has a very large and dynamic community that is happy to help people (a lot like this forum, but fewer end users and more developers). There are many OpenMRS implementers that also use or are interested in DHIS, there was a conversation about this on their implementers emailing list just a couple weeks ago. There has been substantial work on a module that automatically sends data from OpenMRS to DHIS rather than exporting and importing manually, but I'm not sure this is fully functional yet. Generally speaking, both of these tools are implemented with some support from software developers if not one or multiple full time developers or experienced IT people.
Hope this all helps!
Thanks very much for your detailed and very helpful reply. It goes a long way towards answering my questions and pointing me in the right direction, especially in terms of understanding what development would need to be customized in order to interface with DHIS2. I'll be sure to also join the OpenMRS implementer's community as we move forward.
I have had soe experience....what you asking for is possible however it is a bit testing...