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MedInfo 2013

We are very happy to participate in Medinfo 2013 and talk about GNU Health in two different sessions:

  • Care for the World Symposium: Collaboration, Openness, Transparency and Trust as Prerequisite for High Quality, Effective and Efficient Health Care.

  • Moving Beyond eHealth Systems for ‘People Like Us’

Care for the World Symposium

Care for the World is a symposium organized by Thomas Karopka ( BioCon Valley GmbH, Germany), that I have the privilege to represent GNU Solidario, joining my colleagues Syed Aljunid and Nurhizam Safie (United Nations University, International Institute for Global Health, Malaysia );  Holger Schmuhl (Institute for Biological and Medical Imaging, Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany) and Kjeld Lisby (Ideas Clinic, Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark

I will talk about GNU Health, the Free Health and Hospital Information System, and discuss the benefits that Free Software provides to Public Health. I will put focus in Primary Health Care; The MDG6 and Neglected Tropical Diseases functionalty in GNU Health.


While the Global South still struggles to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the health systems of the Global North are under pressure due to an aging population and life style related diseases. In 2000 the Millennium Development Goals have been formulated with the major goal of freeing people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. Three of the goals are linked to health, namely reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Three years before the deadline at the end of 2015 the world has met some important targets while others remain to be seen. In this mini-symposium two different but related methodologies will be presented that are regarded by the authors as the most powerful principles to provide high-quality, efficient and effective health care in a global context. These two methodologies are the use of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) and Open & User Driven Innovation. This mini-symposium provides real world best practice examples of these methodologies. The chosen best practice examples represent a Global South and a Global North perspective and context and will highlight the potential of combining these approaches and are intended to induce a process of mutual learning and exchange of experience among Global South/Global North as well as different communities and different parts of the world.

Moving Beyond eHealth Systems for “People Like Us” 

This workshop is organized by Paul Turner (eHealth Services Research Group, University of Tasmania, Australia) , Andre Kushniruk (School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, Canada), Pernille Bertelsen (Department of Development and Planning, Virtual Centre for Health Informatics, Aalborg University, Denmark )

For this workshop, I will demonstrate how we can enhance the interaction with the Patient and the Health Center, as well as the Doctor-Patient relationship using GNU Health and Free Software. Simple, yet effective solutions that cover from mobile integration to Patient Digital IDs and e-prescriptions for people that don’t have the technical or academic background.


The tendency to design personal ehealth systems for well to do technically literate professionals, rather than average or disadvantaged users (the PLU problem), has been described previously, but is not yet well understood. This interactive workshop will introduce attendees to the PLU problem, expose them to a simulated experience of being a disadvantaged system user, and encourage them to share their experiences of systems which may exclude disadvantaged users. Attendees will also discuss ideas and potential solutions for the design of more inclusive ehealth systems, and identify positive steps which could ameliorate or avoid the problem in the future. Key outputs of the workshop will include a summary of the information provided by attendees, draft criteria for identifying potential PLU-type problems, and an interim list of possible or actual solutions.

Many thanks to MedInfo for this great event, and especially to Thomas Karopka (Chair IMIA OS WG) and Paul Turner (Associate Professor, eHealth Services Research Group, University of Tasmania, Australia) for inviting me to be part of their symposium and workshop. It’s an honor for me to share with you such an important event, and to promote the adoption of Free Software in Public Health.

Looking forward to meeting all of you in Copenhagen !

About GNU Health
GNU Health is a Free Health and Hospital Information System that provides the following functionality: 

  • Health Information System (Demographics, Epidemiology)
  • Hospital Information System
  • Electronic Medical Record 

GNU Health won the Best Project of Social Benefit from the Free Software Foundation, among other international awards.

GNU Health is an official GNU Package , and is part of GNU Solidario, an NGO that delivers health with free software. GNU Solidario and the United Nations University, International Institute for Global Health have signed an agreement to implement and to train Health professionals GNU Health around the world.

GNU Health was presented at the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Communication Union (ITU) session “ICT for Improving Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health” at the World Summit on the Information Society – WSIS 2013 Forum in Geneva.

Main site : health.gnu.org