GNU Health

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GNU Health
Original author(s)Luis Falcón
Developer(s)GNU Project
Initial release12 October 2008; 14 years ago (2008-10-12)
Stable release
4.2.2[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 17 September 2023
Written inPython, Tryton framework
Operating systemCross-platform
TypeHospital Information System

GNU Health is a free/libre health and hospital information system[2] with strong focus on public health and social medicine. Its functionality includes management of electronic health records and laboratory information management system.[3]

It is designed to be multi-platform, supporting Linux distributions and FreeBSD on the server side. It uses PostgreSQL as its database engine. It is written in Python and uses the Tryton framework as one of its components.

GNU Health has been adopted by the United Nations University.[4] In 2011, it became a GNU official package. It was awarded Best Project of Social Benefit from the Free Software Foundation at LibrePlanet 2012, at University of Massachusetts Boston.[5]

GNU Health is a project of GNU Solidario, a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) that works in the areas of health and education with free software.


GNU Health started in 2008 by Luis Falcón as a project for health promotion and disease prevention in rural areas. Its initial name was Medical. It has since evolved into a hospital information system, with a multi-disciplinary international team of contributors.

In August 2011, Richard Stallman declared GNU Health an official GNU Package. Following this, development was moved from SourceForge to GNU Savannah.


GNU Health is intended for health institutions and governments, with functionality to take care of the daily clinical practice, manage resources, and to improve public health.


GNU Health uses a modular approach around the kernel, with different functionality that can be included to meet the health center's needs. Some of the main packages are:

Package Functionality
Health Core package. Includes demographics, patients, evaluations, health centers, appointments, vaccinations, medicaments, health conditions, health professionals and other core models and functionality.
Accounting Functionality for bookkeeping: Chart of Accounts, General Ledger, Invoice handling, cash journals etc.
Pediatrics Main package for pediatrics (including neonatal information and pediatric psychosocial assessments).
Pediatric Growth Charts Includes World Health Organization percentile and z-scores charts.
Gynecology and Obstetrics Gynecology, obstetrics, perinatal and puerperium assessment and history.
Lifestyle Physical exercise, diets, drug addictions, National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) recreational drug database, Henningfield ratings, sexuality, risk factors, home safety, child safety.
Genetics Person genetic information and family history. Includes 4200+ "disease genes" from the NCBI/GeneCards.
Genetics Uniprot UniProt database on human protein natural variants and phenotypes.
Lab Laboratory information management system functionality.
Socioeconomics Assessment and history of education, occupation, living conditions, hostile areas, child labor and prostitution, among others.
Inpatient Hospitalization, bed, operating room management. Inpatient care and nursing plans.
Surgery Pre-operation checklist, procedures, operating rooms, patient surgery history.
Services Groups health related services for the patient. It also allows generating invoices and billing the selected services.
Calendar CalDAV and WebDAV server. Manages appointments, hospitalizations, bed and other resources.
QR Codes Includes QR codes for identification on persons, patients and lab orders.
History Reports for patient demographics and medical history. Electronic Health Record EHR
MDG6 Millennium Development Goal 6: Functionality to fight malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
Reporting Demographic, epidemiological and health center related information.
Nursing Nursing functionality. Patient roundings, medication administration and procedures.
ICU Basic intensive-care unit assessment, history and patient management.
Stock Pharmacy and locations stock management. Automatic stock moves generation on medical procedures.
NTD Base module to cover neglected tropical diseases.
NTD Chagas NTD submodule for vector control, diagnosis, and management of chagas disease.
NTD Dengue NTD submodule for vector control, diagnosis, and management of dengue fever.
Imaging Diagnostic Imaging orders management functionality.
Orthanc Module for integration with Orthanc PACS Server
Federation Integration with the GNU Health Federation
Crypto Support for document digest/record integrity check with hash functions; digital signatures and GNU Privacy Guard plugin.
Archives Functionality to track legacy or paper-based patient health records.
Ophthalmology Basic ophthalmology and optometry functionality.
Functioning and Disability Based on WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health and Laos Center of Medical Rehabilitation.
ICD9 Vol 3 WHO ICD-9-CM Volume 3 procedure codes.
ICD10 WHO ICD-10 International Classification of Diseases - 10th revision
ICD11 WHO ICD-11 International Classification of Diseases - 11th revision
ICPM WHO International Classification of Procedures in Medicine.
ICD10 PCS Procedure Coding System extension
Insurance Insurance and pricelists on services and products management.
EMS Ambulance and Emergency Management System.
Contact tracing Assessment, identification and followup of people who may have come into contact with an infected individual.

Cultural impact[edit]

  • GNU Health was presented at World Health Organization session "ICT for Improving Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children's Health" in WSIS Forum 2013.[6]
  • GNU Health was awarded the Free Software Foundation's 2011 Award for Projects of Social Benefit.[5]
  • GNU Health won the awards PortalProgramas 2012, 2014 and 2015 for Most Revolutionary Free Software[7] and Software with Largest Potential of Growth in 2012.[8]
  • GNU Health awarded Sonderpreis at Open Source Business Award 2016[9][10]
  • In April 2022, GNU Health was included in the Digital public goods registry

Project milestones[edit]

  • 12 October 2008: Medical project registered at SourceForge
  • 2 November 2008: Medical Version 0.0.2 is released at SourceForge
  • 15 April 2010: Medical is registered at Brazilian government Portal do Software Público Brasileiro (SPB)
  • 31 July 2010: The Project is registered at the European Community Open Source Observatory and Repository
  • 16 April 2011: Thymbra transfers GNU Health to the NGO GNU Solidario
  • 18 April 2011: Medical switches the development environment from OpenERP to the Tryton framework.[11][12]
  • 12 June 2011: The project is renamed from Medical to GNU Health.
  • 16 August 2011: version 1.3.0 is released, supporting Tryton and PostgreSQL.
  • 26 August 2011: Richard Stallman declares GNU Health an official GNU Package. At this point, the development portal is moved from SourceForge to GNU Savannah.
  • 29 October 2011: Release of GNU Health v 1.4.1. This version is also included at the Python Package Index – PyPI as a set of Python modules.
  • 25 June 2012: Creation of a public Internet GNU Health database test server in Amsterdam.
  • 9 February 2013: Release of version 1.8.0, compatible with Tryton 2.6 and Android client
  • 18 March 2013: Release of version 1.8.1, with Intensive Care Unit functionality
  • 7 July 2013: Release of version 2.0.0. Compatible with Tryton 2.8, New modules for Neglected tropical diseases, starting with Chagas disease. New Demographics section and Domiciliary Units management; new server installer; improvements to the surgery module (ASA physical status classification system and Revised Cardiac Risk Index).
  • 22 September 2013: Release of version 2.2.0 Dengue and Diagnostic Imaging Tests.
  • 14 November 2013: Release of version 2.2.2 GNU Health Patchset.
  • 27 January 2014: Release of version 2.4.0
  • 22 March 2014: First release of the GNU Health Live CD with GNU Health 2.4 and Tryton-Server 3.0.x on openSUSE 13.1. The Live CD offers a ready-to-run system with actual GNU Health and the Demo Database pre-installed.
  • 6 July 2014: Release of version 2.6.0. Adds hash functions for document verification; digital signatures and GPG integration.
  • 1 February 2015: Release of version 2.8.0. Adds Tryton 3.4 compatibility, data aggregation and synchronization features for distributed environments, a Universal Person Unique Identifier (PUID) and Universal Unique Identifier (UUID) implementation, a HL7 FHIR server, birth and death certificates, and enhanced crypto features (GNU Privacy Guard integration).[13]
  • 11 January 2016: Release of version 3.0.0:[14] Tryton 3.8 compatibility (including web client support); Person functionality and disability module, inspired in WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health; basic Ophthalmology and Optometry functionality, and WHO ICD9 CM Volume 3 procedural codes
  • 2 July 2017: Release of 3.2 series.[15] GNU Health HMIS packages are now written in Python 3. Enhanced genetic history and UniProt package on human protein related conditions; Emergency Management System; Insurance pricelist; Improved crypto modules on laboratory and services; GNU Health Federation and Thalamus[16] initial development.
  • 26 July 2017: With the release of openSUSE Leap 42.3, GNU Health 3.2 becomes part of the standard distribution. This goes in line with automated testing using openQA and an easy, script-based setup.[17]
  • 26 November 2018: GNU Health Federation. Version 3.4 for HMIS node
  • 10 November 2019: Release of version 3.6 . Integration of a person events ("Pages of Life") with Thalamus and the GNU Health Federation Health Information system. Migration from Mongodb to PostgreSQL for the HIS component. Orthanc DICOM server integration. All components in the GNU Health ecosystem use Python3.
  • 24 June 2021: MyGNUHealth Personal health record released.[18]
  • 3 April 2022: GNU Health included in the Digital public goods registry.[19]


GNUHealthCon[20] is an annual conference organized by GNU Solidario. It provides the space for developers, implementers and community members to meet in person during three days. It includes sessions about social medicine, technical discussions, implementation cases and workshops.

GNU Health Social Medicine awards[edit]

GNU Health Social Medicine awards ceremony is part of GNUHealthCon. The awards recognize the role of individuals and organizations committed to improve the lives of the underprivileged. There are three award categories: Individual, Organization and GNU Health Implementation.

GNU Health Social Medicine Awards[21]

Year Individual Organization GNU Health Implementation
2016 Richard Stallman Red Cross Laos Center of Medical Rehabilitation (CMR)[22]
2017 Lorena Enebral[23] National University of Entre Ríos Bikop Medical Center[21][24]
2018 Jose Caminero Luna Tor Project Bafia District Hospital
2019 Aaron Swartz Animal Free Research UK Jamaica Ministry of Health
2020 Angela Davis Proactiva Open Arms Municipality of Diamante, Argentina [25]
2021 Luna Reyes Segura[26] Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Insolàfrica [27]
2022 Teresita Guadalupe Calzia[28] Franz Weber Foundation Cirugía Solidaria [29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "GNUHealth Hospital Management 4.2.2 patchset released". 17 September 2023.
  2. ^ Ardis Hanson and Bruce Lubotsky Levin (2012). Mental Health Informatics. Oxford University Press. pp. 244 - 245
  3. ^ "GNU LIMS: Laboratory Information Management System for Healthcare and Biomedical Sectors".
  4. ^ "Memorandums of Understanding - International Institute for Global Health". Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  5. ^ a b Lee, Matt (26 March 2012). "2011 Free Software Awards announced". Free Software Foundation. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  6. ^ "ICT for Improving Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health". 14 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Premios PortalProgramas al Software Libre 2014". 29 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Premios PortalProgramas al Software Libre 2012". 4 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Bewerber vorgestellt: GNU Health". 26 November 2016. Archived from the original on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  10. ^ "GNU Health gewinnt Sonderpreis beim OpenSource Business Award". 12 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Free Software vs Open Source: Tryton vs OpenERP". 8 September 2011.
  12. ^ "When Free Software Depends on Nonfree". 11 April 2016.
  13. ^ "[Health-announce] GNU Health 2.8 is out !".
  14. ^ "GNU Health - News: GNU Health 3.0 released [Savannah]".
  15. ^ "GNU Health - News: GNU Health 3.2 released [Savannah]".
  16. ^ Solidario, G. N. U. "thalamus: The GNU Health Federation Message and Authentication Server" – via PyPI.
  17. ^ "GNUHealth on openSUSE - openSUSE Wiki". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  18. ^ "Welcome to MyGNUHealth, the GNU Health Libre Personal Health Record". Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  19. ^ "Registry. Digital Public Goods Alliance". Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  20. ^ "GNU Health CON 2019 - IV International GNU Health Conference".
  21. ^ a b "GNUHealthCON 2017 - II International GNU Health Conference".
  22. ^ "COPE - provider of prosthetic, orthotic and rehabilitation services in Laos". Archived from the original on 2016-11-27. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  23. ^ Mashal, Mujib (September 11, 2017). "She Was Teaching Him to Walk. He Shot Her From His Wheelchair". The New York Times.
  24. ^ "Premio GNU - Social Medicine Award (2017)". November 25, 2017.
  25. ^ "GNU Health Social Medicine Awards 2020". November 21, 2020.
  26. ^ Kassam, Ashifa (May 20, 2021). "Spanish aid volunteer abused online for hugging Senegalese migrant". The Guardian.
  27. ^ "GNU Health Social Medicine Awards 2021". December 11, 2021.
  28. ^ "GNU Health Planet - Social Medicine Awards". November 18, 2022.
  29. ^ "Medical Campaign uses GNU Health, openSUSE". October 19, 2022.

Other news and articles[edit]

External links[edit]