Notice E0 Phase 1 Shelf Readiness

Notice E for promoting investments in digital health global goods

OpenFn as a FOSS microservice: click-to-configure, Instant OpenHIE compatible, supported by

Two-sentence overview: 

By simplifying setup and expanding access to our open-source tools and deployment strategies, Open Function Group (“OFG”)  will drastically expand upon the reach and impact of our sector-leading, open-core, integration platform as a service solution (OpenFn). Using OpenFn, OFG has delivered dozens of at-scale, real-time, integration, interoperability and automation solutions for global public health organizations over the last 6 years, and has developed the required expertise and market position to not only provide robust, enterprise grade, shelf-ready open-source software, but to provide the shelf itself, delivering that software to the end users that need it most through a hosted web UI.

Executive summary: 

OFG is a team of integration specialists that drives efficiency in the global health sector by helping organizations achieve real-time, enterprise-grade systems interoperability through integration and automation. OFG developed the OpenFn integration platform to connect any application (e.g., DHIS2, OpenMRS, OpenHIM, CommCare, KoboToolbox, legacy MoH systems) and automate critical business processes (e.g., sending real-time SMS/email alerts, uploading health indicator results). OpenFn is open-core and is extending its open source software with support from DIAL to introduce OpenFn/microservice–a robust, fully open source integration solution that can be deployed to connect any digital health system. 

As a global digital good, OpenFn has been implemented at-scale for leading health organizations around the world. OpenFn/microservice will extend our reach even further, by allowing organizations with “zero proprietary code” requirements to leverage the power of OpenFn. However, the impact of that product is limited because many organizations lack the funding and expertise to design and implement robust integrations, let alone configure and deploy open source software to run on their own servers. OFG therefore seeks funding support to enhance the OpenFn open source software, to develop robust documentation and community support, and to assemble a steering committee that will shape the roadmap for our open source products. The proposed work packages will not only deliver a robust, “click-to-configure”, open source integration solution to the global health sector–but will also save time and money on digital health implementations, and strengthen the Instant OpenHIE project by meeting a critical, and as yet, unmet requirement for real-world deployments. 

Critically, we believe that simply making open source software available is not enough. Beyond shelf-readiness, OpenFn will provide the shelf itself. We will deliver our open-source software through our web UI, so that government ministries, NGOs, or ICT4D consultants can configure OpenFn/microservices online, using our hosted web UI, in a free-forever OpenFn project space, and have the option to “export” their configurations to run as microservices on their own machines.

Consortium Team: 

OFG does not require a consortium team to deliver the proposed deliverables, but please note that we are seeking to both leverage existing partnerships and formalize new partnerships as we fill our our open source steering committee (see Work Package #5).

Digital Health Atlas: 

Yes, OpenFn has been registered as a DHA software. See attachments. 

Geographic Reach: 

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cambodia, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Finland, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, USA, Vietnam, Zimbabwe. 

WHO Classification: 
Data interchange interoperability and accessibility
Application Status: 
Approved - partially funded
Application Tags: 
packaging and deployment
cross-border data exchange
product documentation and manuals
interoperability layer


Hi Aleska

Thanks for the submission, it is a little unclear as to what is going to be documented. Is the ask for modules that could only be run on the hosted platform? if possible please can you include use-cases/workflows that will be implemented/supported to showcase the outputs.

Hi Carl, thanks for the question—good to clarify!

The documentation proposed (WP3) is for the free and open source software (OpenFn/microservice and OpenFn/devtools), not for our hosted software. While we anticipate that ICT4D consulting groups will have to assist many governments/NGOs with these FOSS deployments of OpenFn, we want to ensure that these products do not require our (or any one particular company's) expertise. Building out these robust documentation sites with walkthroughs and user guides will allow greater independence for government/NGO implementers. We've updated the proposal to highlight this.

As for the "use-cases/workflows" request, we're a little unclear if this refers to use cases for the documentation (WP3) or for some of the other work packages we've proposed. The most common use case we work on (both for OpenHIM/OpenHIE-related implementations and for other public health implementations) is one that revolves around a data transformation/cleaning process that involves multiple steps and makes use of varied, legacy systems that may not have been built to OpenHIE standards. For example:

  1. CommCare visit submissions are coerced to meet the a FHIR standard before being sent to OpenHIM;
  2. CHWs are paid (via MPESA or MIFOS) after data is received in a health workforce management system (see DIAL's recent demo with OpenFn here), or;
  3. Aggregate data is retreived from DHIS2 periodically, mapped against another public health or population-level data set, and the results of subsequent statistical calculations are fed into a government database.

We've updated the proposal to be more explicit about how and why OpenFn is used with Instant OpenHIE, and have proposed that a prototype/reference implementation be part of the deliverables for WP1.