OpenEMR's GSoC 2020 a Resounding Success

OpenEMR Experiences Resounding Success with Google Summer of Code 2020.

The OpenEMR project participated in the recently completed Google Summer of Code 2020. Google Summer of Code is an international program by Google which sponsors and pairs open-source organizations with students to work on software development projects. Selected students are sponsored by Google to work on an open-source project for three months.

OpenEMR is one of the world’s leading open-source electronic health records and medical practice management solutions. The OpenEMR community is a large, diverse community of software developers, healthcare professionals, and educators with a healthy mix of both volunteers and professionals. In addition to releasing and maintaining high quality electronic medical record software, OpenEMR is also committed to the education of students in the fields of open-source software and electronic medical records. The OpenEMR community feels strongly that this intersection of open-source software and health care is an exciting area where students can interact and work closely with both developers and healthcare professionals. This unique learning environment is a great fit for Google Summer of Code students and the OpenEMR community was ecstatic when the OpenEMR organization was accepted into the Google Summer of Code.

2020 was the first year OpenEMR participated in Google Summer of Code. The OpenEMR community had 20 mentors participate, including Arnab Naha, Asher Densmore-Lynn, Brady Miller, Daniel Pflieger, David Vu, Dixon Whitmire, Jerry Padgett, Julie Buurman, Ken Chapple, Nilesh Hake, Rachel Ellison, Rob Hausam, Robert Down, Roberto Vasquez, Rod Roark, Sandra Gutierrez, Sherwin Gaddis, Stephen Waite, Tyler Wrenn and Victor Kofia. There were more than 40 student proposals, of which three students were selected to participate in the Google Summer of Code with OpenEMR: Amit Meena, Guan-Wu Su, and Yash Raj Bothra.

Amit Meena designed a hybrid mobile application that was integrated with OpenEMR and supported a rich feature set that included telehealth, medicine recognition, patient searching, barcode scanning, and heartbeat measurement. The application was built via an integration of modern technologies including Flutter, Go, WebRTC and Firebase. In addition to already serving high impact purposes for telehealth and medicine recognition, Amit’s work will also serve as a foundation for new generation mobile health applications integrating OpenEMR with patients and providers. More details on Amit’s project can be found at “GSoC 2020: Hybrid Mobile App”.

Guan-Wu Su focused on bringing the OpenEMR project into the future by working on a myriad of improvements that ranged from user interface improvements to modernizing the underlying codebase and external package requirements. The user interface improvements involved updating almost every script to fully support Bootstrap styling and responsive behavior. Extensive improvements on the backend codebase were also undertaken that updated legacy coding and swapped legacy third party packages with their contemporary counterparts. Guan-Wu’s user interface improvements will markedly improve the usability and user experience, while his underlying backend codebase improvements will be pivotal to ensuring the future-proofing of OpenEMR’s code. More details on Guan-Wu’s project can be found at “GSoC 2020 Work Product: Modernize OpenEMR’s User Interface”.

Yash Raj Bothra worked on improving OpenEMR’s interoperability, which involved integration of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). FHIR is a standard for exchanging electronic health records and is vital functionality in modern electronic medical record software. The FHIR integration involved improvement and refactoring of OpenEMR’s REST API, which was then followed by support for electronic exchanging of many FHIR resources, including Practitioner, PractitionerRole, CareTeam, Condition, Immunization, Medication, MedicationRequest, AllergyIntolerence, Procedure, Observation, Encounter, Organization and Location. Yash’s FHIR integration with OpenEMR will have a direct positive impact on patient care by ensuring timely and accurate electronic transmission of patient medical records. More details on Yash’s project can be found at “GSoC 2020 Work Product: FHIR Integration in OpenEMR”.

For OpenEMR, Google Summer of Code was a resounding success and the OpenEMR community could not be prouder of the participating student’s achievements. OpenEMR is appreciative of the 20 mentors who contributed their time and expertise. One of the core OpenEMR mentors, Tyler Wrenn, stated “Google Summer of Code was a great experience for mentors, students, and OpenEMR, and I look very forward to doing it again next year”. Google Summer of Code was a highly rewarding experience and the OpenEMR community is especially appreciative of Google for providing so much support in the fostering of students exposure to the grand world of open-source.