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05.15 2019

OpenLMIS v3.6: User-friendly enhancements to improve ordering and save time

Originally posted on the OpenLMIS website.

The OpenLMIS initiative is proud to announce the latest release of our software, OpenLMIS version 3.6.  This release incorporates valuable feedback from OpenLMIS users, implementers, and global supply chain management experts. Our newest features aim to improve user experience, and specifically simplify processes related to ordering commodities and collating data for decision-making.  3.6 is a major accomplishment for the Initiative and a milestone for public health supply chain stakeholders globally.

This release represents the work of four organizations working collaboratively to deliver quality software and add new features. OpenLMIS is proud of the valuable contributions from partner organizations VillageReachSolDeveloJohn Snow Inc., and Ona.

DHIS2 Integration

OpenLMIS was built to interoperate with other platforms in the open-source ecosystems such as ERPs, mobile applications, and EMRs (see below image). With the 3.6 release OpenLMIS will be able to bridge the important gap between supply chain management data and centralized health services data through an integration with DHIS2.  Having the ability to combine LMIS data with health services data allows for an extra layer of deeper data analysis, and can facilitate programs to make decisions around resourcing, product wastage, coverage, and forecasting future needs. Given the growing trend for countries to transition to DHIS2, this capability is a great asset for OpenLMIS users.

Management of product kits

At the OpenLMIS Community meeting in 2018, we received some important feedback from our current implementers that many countries health systems are transitioning to using kits to ensure comprehensive service delivery, particularly for HIV and malaria testing. In response to this feedback, the OpenLMIS Community decided to incorporate new 3.6 features that allow for kits to be easily ordered, tracked, and managed within the OpenLMIS system. Kits in OpenLMIS are products which contain other products, such as test kits for malaria and HIV (see image below). Various types of kits and can now be configured from within the system to allow for simple produce management. Once kits have been delivered to a facility, local staff are able to update the system to “unpack” the kit and add the individual products contained within the kit into their local stock. The addition of the new ‘kitting’ feature set is a great example of how OpenLMIS uses feedback from it’s community of users to constantly improve the OpenLMIS product and ensure that it continues to meet user needs.

                                  Examples of test kits for malaria and HIV diagnosis

Multiple Suppliers

In order to streamline the process of ordering new stock, requisitions for new stock are now able to be fulfilled by multiple suppliers. This is an automatic process that system administrators can define according to their specific needs. This feature allows visibility down to the health facility level to see which suppliers are supplying each product and allows for OpenLMIS to accurately represent how a single requisition can be processed by more than one supplier.

Notification Enhancements

The ability to receive notifications from the OpenLMIS system for issues such as ‘emergency orders’ has always been an important feature within OpenLMIS. However, we recently found that some users were overwhelmed by the quantity and frequency of notifications coming to their inboxes. Now with 3.6 users are able to receive notifications as a daily digest, and users have the option to configure which notifications they might want to receive via SMS, rather than just through email. This functionality can reduce inbox clutter, and is particularly helpful for managing and triaging time-sensitive notifications.

What’s Next for OpenLMIS?

OpenLMIS’s geographic footprint continues to grow across the African continent, currently supporting logistics processes in over 11,000 health facilities in English, French, and Portuguese. Our most recent implementation is in Angola, where the Portuguese name for the OpenLMIS system is ‘SIGLOFA’ (Sistema Informatica de Gestao de Logistica Farmaceutica de Angola).  GHSC-PSM are working together with VillageReach in Angola to set up and roll-out the system in provincial warehouses and hospitals across the country.

The implementation teams began by hosting workshops to obtain user feedback, sensitize stakeholders, and refine the initial set of requirements. Another important step was to clarify roles and responsibilities for the Ministry of Health in the implementation and ongoing management of the system; this is an important step to ensure longevity and sustainability of the SIGLOFA system. The pilot phase is currently underway and will last until May 2019, with National roll out and scale up to begin in August 2019.

OpenLMIS release version 3.6 is supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and Digital Square, a PATHled initiative funded and designed by a consortium of investors.

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