Want to Help Build Medical Software for the Developing World? HospitalRun is Looking for Maintainers.

By August 8, 2018Blog

HospitalRun is free, easy-to-use software for developing world healthcare. Born out of the work of the project’s co-founders while at CURE International, HospitalRun was started in 2014 to address the software needs of thousands of small medical facilities throughout the developing world. Many of these hospitals and clinics struggle to access electronic medical records in low resource environments, which is essential to best understand the patient’s medical history and provide her or him with the care that they need.

Now, after 4.5 years of helping small medical facilities in developing countries access electronic medical systems, HospitalRun is looking for new technical maintainers. If you are looking to better your skills in JavaScript while working on something that directly impacts the health of people around the world, now is a great time to start. Below is a message from the co-founders of HospitalRun around the progress of this project, and where you might fit in in the future.  

4.5 Years Ago…

In 2014 when John, Joel, and I (yes there are two Joel’s) started this project, I could have never imagined how far the project would progress to today. We are and always have been aspirational co-founders / maintainers of HospitalRun, starting the project in the hopes that our work would motivate other, more qualified, better-resourced teams to take up the cause.

In that respect, progress – not the project – has always been the aim. I’ve often said, “If HospitalRun solves a problem, great. If it’s just prior work to a better, more sustainable solution, that’s just as great.” We saw a human problem that could be significantly aided by better software, and we leveraged the vantage point we had (at the time all as current or recent employees of CURE International) to pursue a solution.

I’d say the community got pretty far.

Since then…

Four and a half years is a long time for anything in the tech world, and (not surprisingly) a lot has changed for each of the co-founders.

  • John Kleinschmidt is now working full-time as an open source maintainer as a part of the Electron team at GitHub
  • Joel Glovier, after a 5 year stint at GitHub, is now the head of design at Netlify
  • I’m now working for New Relic as well as teaching part-time as a Computer Science instructor at my alma-mater, Messiah College

None of us are working directly in the healthcare or nonprofit sectors any longer, each of us have had numerous family, career, and life events since founding HospitalRun, and each of us have struggled to bring the kind of time and attention that the project deserves.

That last point has been especially true for me over the last year.

Which is to say, everything changes, and today is an announcement of a change for HospitalRun.

Maintaining

John and I have decided that we can no longer give (and to be honest haven’t been giving) HospitalRun the time and attention it needs; and as a result, we’re looking to hand off the primary technical leadership of HospitalRun to someone(s) else who can take the project wherever it still needs to go. I’m happy to stay involved as a promoter and supporter, but our hope is that a group of worthy “someones” will raise their hands, asking for control of the repos.

Joel Glovier will continue to remain involved as a core maintainer and design lead. While Joel’s availability is limited, he will continue to participate in leading the project forward as much as availability permits. You can find him in the Slack channel or mention him in issues and pull requests where applicable.

John and I have agreed that neither of us can be a part of the project in that way going forward.

“I want to help!”

HospitalRun has been a wonderful experience for each of us – one that I can highly recommend. If you’re thinking about throwing in with the project, the weekly stream of interest in my inbox can attest to the continued need for the project. It’s been a genuine privilege to be a part of it, and I think it still can be for you.

If you’re interested in taking over HospitalRun as a technical maintainer, email me and let’s talk about transitioning the project well.

The original version of the blog post can be found here.

Kaitlyn Barnard

Author Kaitlyn Barnard

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