Let your medical practice go open source with Gnumed
Gnumed is an open source management tool for medical practices. If your practice (or a practice you do IT for) is in need of an electronic record-keeping system, and you do not want to have to shell out your entire IT budget for a proprietary solution, Gnumed might be the perfect tool for you.
Gnumed is developed by doctors and programmers from around the globe and is gaining plenty of traction. Gnumed is broken into a client and a backend server and is released for both the Linux platform and the Windows platform. In order to use Gnumed you do have to have the Server up and running. You can, however, demo Gnumed by connecting to one of the public demo databases.
For the purposes of this introductory article, we will connect to the public demo. In a later article I will outline setting up the backend server for Gnumed.
Fortunately the Gnumed client will be found in your distribution repositories. So to install the software you will only have to follow these steps:
- Open the Add/Remove Software utility.
- Search for "gnumed" (no quotes).
- Select the results for installation.
- Click Apply to install.
There are a few dependencies to meet, but the Add/Remove tool will take care of that for you. Once installed the application can be started from the Office sub-menu of the Application menu. When you first start Gnumed you will be welcomed by the connection window (see Figure 1). In this window you enter your credentials and connect to a server.
For those that are just testing out Gnumed you will want to connect to the public testing server. Here is the information to enter in order to connect to the public server:
- Backend: public Gnumed database
- username: any-doc
- password: any-doc
Once the authentication is successful you will be greeted by a welcome screen warning you that, since this is a publicly accessible database, any data you add will be lost. Once you OK that window you will see another window that requires you to set the database language. By default the language will be "None" and it needs to be set (for the demo) to "en_US". To do this all you need to do is click the Set button.
After the db language is set the main window will open (see Figure 2). As you can see, all entered patients are listed in this window. From here you can do just about anything you need to do. And that is the crucial question. Just what can you do with Gnumed? The feature list includes:
- Appointment managment.
- Client creation/import/management.
- Staff management.
- Allergy records.
- Forms and letters.
- Track patient progress.
- Doctor journal.
- Document management.
- Drug information.
- Built-in report generator.
A word of note: The public database is fairly slow, so your experience with Gnumed may seem a bit lackluster. Do not assume this is the case with a private database, because Gnumed runs much, much faster when using a local backend.
Gnumed is an outstanding open source tool for medical practices. With similar features as very costly proprietary solutions, any practice looking to cut costs need look no further than this application. Now, in our next look at Gnumed we will visit setting up a backend server so you can begin to actually use Gnumed for your practice.Advertisement