LibreHealth for newcomers

Times flies so quickly! I can’t believe that I am in the 7th week of my Outreachy journey!

In this blog post, I will talk about LibreHealth for anyone who is interested in contributing to it or just interested in writing documentations.

So, I’m currently an Outreachy intern with LibreHealth, which is a collaborative community that is creating free and open-source Health IT software that is targeted towards providing fast and easy solutions for the healthcare needs of developing countries all around the world.

One of its projects is the LibreHealth EHR application which is designed to be focused on an electronically based healthcare system that is suitable for use by health practitioners, and it also focuses heavily on patient interface, to allow easy access and usability.

My project is Improving Documentation for the LibreHealth EHR Wiki, by documenting the most commonly used healthcare workflows, and reviewing any new fixes or changes that needs to be updated in the existing documentations.

But what is documentation and why it is important?

Documentation is writing up a specification of features and instructions that describes the use of a product or a software to its users.

Documentation is often divided into the following categories:

  • Installation: Describes the steps required to install software, hardware, or any items that requires to be assembled.
  • Quick Reference:  brief, illustrated numbered steps with minimal explanation; contain only the specific steps and information necessary to perform the described workflow correctly, with brief directions to more detailed information.
  • Tutorials: illustrated steps with adequate details and explanations; should be carefully organized to keep the workflow as the primary focus with exceptions and unexpected behaviors identified and explained, in a separate appendix or external documents as appropriate.

In my first internship weeks, my task was to go through previous issues that have been fixed in order to update the existing documentation that are affected by these issues, and keep the docs clear and up to date.

After that, I had to update it in the wiki, which is a type of website whose contents can be edited from the web browser, and which keeps a version history for each editable page.

Documentation is really important because it will reach users who don’t have background in technology to understand the system with clear, simple and easy to follow instructions and helpful screenshots.

What makes me most excited to work on this project?

It is always an amazing thing to gain new & different experiences!

By contributing to LibreHealth, I’ve learned more about medical workflow and Healthcare FOSS which is a new field for me. I learned how to format the Markdown for wiki updates and learned to make both Quick Reference and Tutorial documents. I started with minimal skills, now I have a good knowledge to explain the main features of the system to healthcare professionals.

The fact that by improving LibreHealth documentation, I am helping thousands of users who use this medical system in their daily work and also improving my skills while doing so, makes me so excited.

How to Get Involved with LibreHealth?

There are two ways to contribute to LibreHealth open source projects: contributing code and contributing documentation.

The process is simple, you can start by registering in LibreHealth’s online chat and do so at the LibreHealth Forums, then introducing yourself and how you can contribute. You will find mentors and volunteers who are happy to guide you through.

My journey and experience so far with this wonderful community has been an exciting one. I encourage everyone to be part of the amazing LibreHealth community.

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