Reuse is one of the main reasons for the development as open source of OpenTele, a Danish e-health telemedicine project. The health sector is crying out for open source ICT solutions, says Mike Kristoffersen, a senior software architect at the Danish Alexandra Institute. “Doctors and hospitals are seriously locked into medical ICT systems, making it difficult to do research, even for small scale projects.”
On 1 February, Kristoffersen presented OpenTele at the Fosdem conference in Brussels. The project is currently piloted for pregnancies with medical complications, and for chronic diseases such as diabetes and lung disease. OpenTele allows remote monitoring, and lets patients monitor their own health. In some cases, patients can even decide themselves if they need medication, Kristoffersen explained in Brussels. “This reassures and empowers patients. The data shows they are OK and so they decide to go fishing.”
OpenTele is already managing the records of 1103 patients, Kristoffersen said, with 800 new users to be added soon. “The system has so far handled 278,288 measurements.”
OpenTele is a project by 4S - Stiftelsen for Software-baserede Sundheds-Services, the foundation for software-based health services. Its members are Denmark’s eHealth authority, three of the five Danish regions (which manage public hospitals and secondary healthcare), municipalities (which are responsible for primary health care and social care), the University of Aarhus and the Alexandra research institute. OpenTele is published under the Apache free software license.
The organisations would like other medical specialists to take part in their project. “We are open for contributions from all levels”, Kristoffersen says.
The developers are working to separate OpenTele into modules, and to make it easy to add others. “We are working on the module that handles device communication”, Kristoffersen says, “and would like to make one for messages and another for questionnaires.” All of the OpenTele software is available online.