Implementation and Management Approach
Health Atlas Ireland is a joint Health Service Executive and academic initiative. In the absence of an off-the-shelf solution, a new system was designed and developed. A EU restricted tendering process selected OpenApp, a Dublin base Open Source SME, and Siemens Ireland as development partners. OpenApp was subsequently awarded full project development responsibility.
Grant aided by the Health Research Board, the Atlas is custom built by the public health sector in partnership with two universities. The close collaboration with OpenApp brings in technical expertise on open source software and the ability to smoothly integrate within the project state of the art technologies.
Health Atlas Ireland enables "joined up thinking" within and between agencies. The open source design has an international potential. Ongoing development means that additional functionalities will be progressively put into production.
The project is supported by a number of Irish Public Organizations: the Health Information Unit (HIU), Health Intelligence, Population Health, HSE in collaboration with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, UCD, NUIM and DCU. Excellent collaboration both within and outside the HSE including OSI, CSO, AnPost/ GeoDirectory, the Universities, ESRI, National Cancer Registry, Road Safety Authority, National Roads Authority, and An Garda SÃochÃ¡na, assist the project.
The system is build on the best of breed open source software components and integrating them in a manner that delivers a seamless system view to the end user. The popular open source methodology of â€˜release early, release oftenâ€™ fits well with the user interaction and uptake.
All applications developed within Health Atlas are web-based and directly accessible trough a browser. As a consequence, no other additional investments are required to any group of users (inside the public administration or for the citizens). In other words, any user can access the Health Atlas applications with his login and a password.
Health Atlas is based on Zope, an open source application server. Zope is entirely compatible with WAP standards, which allows anybody not only to consult Internet sites from a mobile phone, but also to work on applications. This technology also allows interconnection between published information, electronic agendas, etc.
The system has been delivered in 5 phases to date:
1. Basic data selections and map rendering from census and electoral divisions
2. Add health datasets
3. Add A0 printing, manual data upload, and statistical tests
4. Integrate geoDirectory and add network analysis capacity
5. Refine security, usability and performance