This blog written by Suruchi Dhungana. Suruchi is a Total Product Management and Development fellow at OpenMRS who works basically for Dictionary Manager and OCL. She is passionate about solving the user’s problems and pain-points, and has been advocating the user’s voice for content management in Dictionary Manager. She holds a bachelor degree in Computer Science for Tribhuvan University, Nepal. She has more than 5 years of experience working in OpenMRS, EHR and content management both as a developer and a product manager. She likes to travel to new places and trek up the mountains interacting with the local people and learning their culture.
Managing medical terminologies has been a challenge for OpenMRS implementers for many years – but together the OpenMRS and OCL communities have made huge gains in the last 3 years! We are now seeing that both technical and non-developer folks are increasingly using tools like OCL to manage their concepts and semantic coding. In fact, there are now over 180 OpenMRS concept dictionaries being managed in OCL Online, with new dictionaries published every month. This momentum is largely thanks to the successful pilot of the OpenMRS Dictionary Manager webapp, which taught us a lot about the power of making concept management more friendly and accessible.
Our colleagues in the Open Concept Lab community have been walking this journey with us. Much of the ease-of-use lessons we learned have been applied to the OCL TermBrowser product over the last year, including preferred sources, a “quick add” feature for mappings, and an advanced cascade to streamline adding a concept’s associated answers or set members to your dictionary. Many more features important to OpenMRS are planned in the 2023 OCL Roadmap.
All of this progress has made us ask: “Should the OpenMRS community really continue to maintain a separate webapp, when the OCL TermBrowser can be used instead?” Especially given that the OpenMRS community needs to focus its resources on its core competency: An EMR for low-resource settings.
So, we would like to inform you that we are deprecating the OpenMRS Dictionary Manager application starting at the end of February 2023, and then we will fully shut down the application starting this April 2023. This means that we will no longer be providing any updates, bug fixes, or support for the application.
We have decided to encourage OpenMRS users to use the OCL TermBrowser as this now has many of the features that OpenMRS dictionary managers need and an increasingly user-friendly interface. The OpenMRS Dictionary Manager already shares the same backend with OCL (i.e. the OCL Terminology Server), so current OpenMRS Dictionary Manager users can switch to using the OCL TermBrowser at any time using the same login credentials, and all data will still be there.
We appreciate your understanding and support and we apologize for any inconvenience that this transition may cause. However, we think that the growing pains are worth it as we continue to strengthen the partnership between OCL and OpenMRS. And, we celebrate together that the Dictionary Manager has been a success – it has helped us grow together with OCL and identify a terminology-management future that is both more sustainable and user-friendly for both communities.
To help with users transition to the OCL TermBrowser, we will publish a guide for “Using OCL for OpenMRS Concept Dictionary Management” in early March 2023. In the meantime, please to reach out to the OpenMRS-OCL squad or post on OpenMRS Talk if you run into any challenges. And if you’d like to be an early adopter of the new OCL Chat, feel free to say hello there too!
A version of this blog post was originally posted on OpenMRS Talk: https://talk.openmrs.org/t/deprecating-dictionary-manager-from-the-end-of-this-february-2023/38668/1