Open Source PowerBuilder based EMR Clinical Groupware

The PowerBuilder group on FaceBook pointed to the open source project “EncounterPRO EMR Clinical Groupware for Pediatrics and Primary Care” at  This project uses a mix of C# and our beloved PowerBuilder.
PowerBuilder 11.5 is used for both the client application UI and server components.

This seems to be an open source version of a proprietary product – don’t ask me how that all works and the relationships.
This open source version is still in development, there don’t seem to be any installations yet.  The However the project is addressing the common issues in both the client UI and EMR server-side that I am familiar with.  I will be giving this a look, see how it stacks up to ‘openMRS‘ and whether I should be spending my spare time here instead.

Open MRS has the advantage of an installed “customer” base with a worldwide mission.  This ‘EncounterPRO’ project has a strong focus for the physician/nurse encounter workflow – which I see as more important the back-end services.  From skimming the docs it seems to be using a more general workflow engine, which matches my general approach to problems.  Additionally, using PowerBuilder just makes the cake that much tastier!

Maybe mobilize this with Appeon?  Version 2.0 is now in beta and it looks good.


OpenMRS – open source project for medical record software

A couple people have asked what I have been doing lately.  Fortunately I have been putting my talents for good rather than evil (even though evil is so tempting, and they have cookies).

I am becoming familiar (and hopefully soon being useful) on the open source electronic medical record (EMR) software “OpenMRS” (  This project combines my interests in EMR software (and data models) with my desire to make a real contribution for efficient and effective delivery of healthcare.  Just in Kenya this software is used in over 50 clinics supporting hundreds of thousands of patients.  

Fortunately this system is using tools I am familiar with – code is Java, GIT for version control, and JIRA for issues and scrum.  I am still getting familiar with the codebase and will soon have the confidence to take an issue from JIRA or even propose some new functionality (like a remote ‘visiting nurse’ tablet application).

What is inside a K-Cup

The kid asked what was inside the K-Cup (the coffee unit for the single serve coffee brew system). We shook and cut and concluded there are two basic kinds.

  1. Classic – “teabag of coffee”
  2. Fully dissolvable contents – like hot chocolate and “Chai Latte”

The classic kind is described by Wikipedia, and you can discern the design by simply shaking and examining an unused K-Cup.  To complete the investigation, I cut a used classic K-Cup open.  The embedded filter holding the coffee (like a teabag) is quite apparent.

During brewing, the hot water is injected at the top (through the foil seal – here on the bottom because the K-Cup is upside-down) .  The brewed coffee drains out the bottom, here visible on the left half of the opened shell.


SAP Archived PocketBuilder

I was poking around the Appeon and SAP sites and such when I fell across a link to our beloved PocketBuilder.  It has not been totally scrubbed but moved to an ‘archived’ location:

So, if you’re wanting win bar bets by pointing out the “already invented by PocketBuilder” ideas, just reference this area.  Things like:

  • Occasionally connected, transactional, data access objects using MobiLink (2003).
    On top of the rock solid ACID SQL within the device itself.
  • Easy access to web services from the mobile device (2004).
  • 4GL objects for barcode & fingerprint readers (2004).
    This included support for multiple hardware variations.
  • Referring to the user’s source code library as the ‘pickle’ (in homage to a PowerBuilder shorthand).
  • 4GL objects for tying the contact list to the device’s phone for easy calling and lookups (2003)
  • 4GL objects for GPS, SMS, Camera, and SIM card (2005).
    And yes, these support multiple hardware variations.
  • The PocketBuilder group also ‘snuck’ features into PowerBuilder – like enhancements to direct file access, edit masks, and display formats (hex, boolean, etc).

Internally this project was run using agile techniques such as nightly builds, nightly QA runs, burn-down lists, and frequent internal and external releases.  This was a small project that made a profit, but not large enough for a big company to bother with (IOW – if this was a company in my garage, we would be very very happy).

SAP Sapphire in Orlando

SAP Sapphire in Orlando – for the opening keynote – 20K attendees with 80K watching online (yes – 100K total).
Unfortunately (well, fortunately) I’m in Kalamazoo with the streaming video in a corner of one of my screens.