Health Jam Seattle/Results


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  • Small turnout, but really good people.
  • Seth and I had a fantastic conversation with two UW health researchers before the Jam started; they were surprised more researchers didn't propose to use the XO for healthcare studies since it's a low-cost rugged computing platform, and commented that we do need a good way of gathering data (from OLPC Health hardware deployment - but also more generally from pilots in the education sense) that academics can use to study the impact of the things we're doing. Are machines available through the developers' program for them to see if some of their open-source public health software projects could work with the XO's hardware (particularly sensors/networking, which can't be done with emulation)?
  • Reporter from the UW student newspaper came; there weren't many people for her to talk to, which I feel a little bad about - but we tried to give her a (very enthusiastic) overview of the project.
  • World VistA people are here! I was introduced to the MUMPS programming language, which seems like a terse, powerful, (ugly) language for database manipulation. They want an interface written - it's currently in DELPHI and the only component of the medical-records management program that isn't open-source, and anything that can hook to a socket can work with it (so a pyGTK interface with python sockets would be great).
    • It IS open source. We have the source! The problem is that we do not have an open source compiler and library with which to compile and link this source. It is written in Borland Delphi, a proprietary dialect of Pascal, and uses their proprietary VCL (Visual Component Library). There is an open source Free Pascal/Lazarus project which is similar, but not 100% compatible, so there will be some porting required. We will see how much progress we make this weekend --Drew.einhorn 09:48, 19 April 2008 (EDT)
      Ah - sorry about that, Drew - and thanks for the correction! Mchua 11:46, 19 April 2008 (EDT)


  • Small turnout, but not unexpected (Saturday should be much better)
  • Excellent conversations with the World VistA team, discussing possible partnerships in promoting their MRD software further
  • We just so happened to find a Biomedical Engineer who's very interested in working on the TeleHealth hardware.
  • The department of Global Health is also interested in bringing in speakers on OLPC in healthcare for one of their large events coming up in July
  • I think that we really blew the mind of the reporter from TheDaily (student newspaper) She ended up staying around for quite some time, and Mel and I ended up talking to her about FLOSS and Winning back the Commons, software freedom, etc. I think that we gave her way too much information for a 15 col in story.

Sethwoodworth 10:17, 19 April 2008 (EDT)



  • Note to self: make sure Jam location is more accessible next time. They locked all the building and hallway doors except for one (after myself and another participant showed up at the front desk, lost after trying all the paths we could think of to get to T-wing), which we're afraid may have turned away some participants who weren't able to find the location.
  • Agreed on the need for a better Health HPI (Human Participation Interface - we need clearer things for people to do that move things towards an actual deployment). That is our job for Sunday. Look for changes to Health and related pages.
  • Kept working towards MUMPS and VistA on the XO - need an SD card to handle the space requirements, but I'm intrigued also by the option of using MUMPS as a back-end for small programs that need a faster, more compact database than, say, Python can provide. I'd like to see how easy it is to get MUMPS to interface with some sort of GUI (say, pyGTK) on Sunday, just for kicks.
  • Relocated to Saturday House in the afternoon to work in a space with more people around. Perhaps we can ask SH to just host the Jam next time.

Mchua 14:52, 20 April 2008 (EDT)



  • More MUMPS and VistA before the VistA crew left - I was sorry to see them go!
  • We had some SeaXO folks come in right as a bunch of us left for lunch; hopefully Seth can fill in what happened there, since I was eating and missed it.
  • Iain was around, so we had some good prep for Linuxfest Northwest next weekend and how this weekend's events could be folded into that.
  • Large contingent of family dropped by to help discuss deployment in the Philippines
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