Tag Archives: health

OpenMRS – February Update

18 Feb

Wow! It’s a been a while, and so much has been happening – 2013 is proving to be a very exciting year indeed!

This is true not only for my own life, but also for the life of our OpenMRS project. Since my first attendance at the “hacknight” late last year, we’ve moved onto the next section of the module, seen new faces, worked on a spin-off project looking into the potential use of OpenMRS for indigenous Australia, and moved to Tuesday nights.

Now, we’re looking to revamp the induction experience, build up our backlog, do heeeaaaps! of testing, and get more awesome people taking up the cause. This means we’re looking for all types of people to join us – so whether you’re interested in coding, testing, writing stories, or any other aspect you feel might be useful, consider this your invitation to join us.

More information on the Melbourne weekly event can be found here: http://www.meetup.com/melbourne-hack-nights/

And if you’re not in Melbourne, but want to take part, I’d love to chat about that too.


The Doctor’s Office

15 Apr

Disclaimer: I went to see a local doctor recently, but don’t worry, it wasn’t overly serious and I’m okay now 🙂

The directions to the doctor’s office were a teensy bit obscure, but only as obscure as every other location in India:
“it’s on this lane, which is opposite this lane, just off of this road”
“Ah yes, let me just find that on google maps. I see the lane, but where on the lane is it?”
“Oh… it’ll be there. Try finding this landmark, or this shop, and remember to look out for the this particular complex”.

This is how locations are commonly defined, in terms of intersections and landmarks. No street numbers, that would make it too easy. The business card for my current accommodation literally says it’s on “x road, 1km ahead of y bridge” (and yes the streets and landmarks have real, non algebraic names, but I don’t want to be stalked, mmk?).

So I may have overlooked the doctor’s office the first time around. Instead of departing the rickshaw at one end of the lane and walking its entirety to find the office, I rode in the rickshaw through the entire lane (just over 1km) in the hope that I would spot the aforementioned “landmarks”. As a result, I ended up on the far end of the lane, only to walk the whole way back. My bad.

Ah, at last I reached the doctor’s office – a small building that looked somewhat hazardous upon entry, but was immaculate and lovely within. Upon arrival I was advised that the doctor would be back shortly, and I was asked to wait outside. Outside! Sure, it makes sense to loose sick people unto “fresh” air rather than group us into a tight space and incubate our germs, but … outside?

At first, that was definitely a bizarre notion. Until that holiday feeling started sinking in. You know, that feeling you get when you’re doing nothing at all, outside, away from the fluorescent lights, sound systems and ventilated air; when you’re not tempted to think about emails or deadlines or dishes. It was calming, and definitely reduced the anxiety that might at times be felt in an ordinary waiting room. For once I wasn’t rehearsing what I’d say to the doctor, or wondering what vile, contagious diseases the other patients might have. Personally, I think this doctor is onto something.

Then I made the faux pas of not taking my shoes off once I went inside. I understand how this is common when entering a home, but to go barefoot in a doctor’s office? If my lovely friends from India can please tell me (a) if this is common and (b) why it happens, then please, please do!

Aside from that, I can mention that the doctor-patient confidentiality is not so prevalent here. Again, I am not sure if this is common or was just for doctor, and I don’t particularly want to visit more doctors to find out. What I do know is that two or three patients would see the doctor at the same time. They’d each have their own turn in consultation, but they’d be in the room together, listening to each others’ symptoms and prescriptions. I was fascinated to watch a baby being treated – she was simply adorable! Once again, this was a bizarre concept to me at first, but it was far better than being isolated with a stranger, and putting all my trust in them. *Phew* So in reality, this practice built up my confidence in the doctor, which I think is what any foreigner might need. And as a final note, the doctor was brilliant, and I am quite well again.

So yay! for another update to prove that I’m still alive.

Switch off to switch on

11 Apr

Having recently relocated on assignment, I am finding it super easy to be with my computer all the time. I turn it on first thing in the morning, and it’s the last thing I interact with before going to sleep. There’s little to stop me, as I’m no longer going over to friends’  places, meeting up with them at the shops or movies, going out for a drink, and so on. I’ve boycotted my regular life and, behind the pre tense of settling in to my new location, am instead interacting with it electronically. My laptop is now an even greater connection with both my work and personal life – pretty convenient, huh? And yet, it poses a dire threat to my ability to remain focused at any point in time. Whilst at work, sure I’m thinking about the project, but I’m also wondering how my savings are going, whether I should buy another guitar, where I should travel to this weekend and, of course, how my friends are going. Whilst back “home”, I might appear to be relaxing to a movie, but I’m also monitoring my emails, waiting for a response, or trying to plan the next working day.

Whilst multi-tasking can seem to be a point of success, giving the illusion of achievement, it is becoming more and more recognised as a deterrent to productivity (click here or here for examples).

One of the simplest solutions is to create opportunity in the workplace for uninterrupted focus. Many, many blogs and articles detail the ways in which in to organise your day to aid focus and thereby aid creativity and productivity, but I particularly like the ones written by Mark McGuiness, such as this one.

And yet, if we are becoming more aware that multitasking is, for lack of better wording, bad, and that all we need is a schedule that allows us to focus… then why are we still succumbing to the allure of being busily unfocused?

That would be because the simple solutions are actually not so simple. It may sounds ridiculous at first, but it can be quite difficult to shut off your email for an hour, to turn off your phone, and to focus solely on a problem. This may be partially because we are afraid that we’ll find the problem at hard really difficult to solve, and at least if we were distracted the whole time we’ll have an excuse that promises to replace the feeling of inadequacy. Whatever the reason, focusing on one thing, just one thing, can be very hard.

So how we can our increase my mental capacity for focus? Meditating seems like a pretty cool idea, and almost feels obvious when you think about it, but what about daydreaming?

I won’t say that everyone should daydream at the workplace but… it’s a pretty neat way to switch off. By daydreaming, we can train our minds to ignore distractions, with almost zero effort. Once we become a little more confident in our ability to block out distractions, we will not only increase our focus for meditative and problem solving tasks, but we may even become a little more capable of switching off emails long enough to solve a problem in one go.