Proposed Ethercis MKII and EHRBase. Are they the same project


I recall a Dec 2018 meeting in London where a proposal for Ethercis MKII was discussed and circulated to the community. Just wondering if EHRBase is a fallout of that or an independent initiative.

As I understand EHRBase builds on Ethercis, but uses the Archie library. Does it mean that the databases of Ethercis and EHRBase are compatible?

In light of the EHRBase imitative, will Ethercis continue it’s development independently? Is EHRBase planning to offer data migration from Ethercis?


Hi Dileep,

I will start with the technical questions: while the team made lots of changes (you mentioned Archie, but we now also heavily rely on Spring and deprecated the Marand API in favor of the openEHR REST API) the database structure of EHRbase is still relatively close to EtherCIS. Though we certainly made some enhancements: the biggest one should be that we now have contributions in the sense of that you can define a single transaction containing operations on multiple compositions.

For the migration path, we eventually should be able to implement a bulk import and export service (not sure if this is yet formally in the openEHR spec…will need to look it up) to get serialized contributions and reproduce the EHR IDs in the target system. This task could certainly be done manually (and has been in the past between other openEHR CDRs), but it also makes sense to allow easy migration between any openEHR implementation. The remaining issue would be to implement the export on EtherCIS (which is not on our roadmap, so we might need to meet in the middle here).

We also have several Flyway scripts but I’m not sure if they cover the whole transformation between the database versions and preserve the integrity of the data. Though, I would not completely rule this out as an option!

On the broader questions: Long story short, EHRbase is a fork of EtherCIS and in this sense not a direct successor. However, EtherCIS’ main developer Christian is part of the EHRbase team, which guarantees some continualness. So far the part of the questions that I can answer.


Sound like a great opportunity for someone to build a bulk import facility and perhaps for this to be made part of the specs. Superficially this should be as simple as a bulk transfer of templates, followed by a bulk export import of compositions but… Contributions. Preserving links and references etc. There must be a fair bit of overlap with the merge specs. I’ll start a new thread on this

Hi Birger,

Thanks for the detailed reply. That clears a lot of things for us.

Let me congratulate your team for the excellent initiative. The team seems to have set a very aggressive roadmap for yourself and good luck with that. I am happy to help in whatever little way I can. As I am not a programmer, I may not be able to help with the code, But can try to help with testing using some real life use cases that we are working on.


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There is an initial specification of a dump/load facility here (= bulk import/export)

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thanks Dileep,

Fair question and one that was bound to come up.

You are right, we had a review and planning session in December 2018 where we planned out the future of EtherCIS (MkII)
The plan was to manage that development in the open from that point on.

For their own reasons, several of the attendees at that session set up a private fork of EtherCIS and took their refactoring efforts offline for a period of months early in 2019.
In the meantime we continued to use and still to continue to use EtherCIS as a key aspect of 3 tier open source stack (PulseTile + Qewd + EtherCIS)

We were pleased to see Birger and team finally get their work (which they called EHRbase) out to open public release , under Apache 2 etc, since October and great credit to Birger and the energy and effort of the whole team in recent weeks since then as it continues to improve. Thankfully Christian, the founder of EtherCIS has been involved in the transition and is very happy with the outcome.

We are waiting on some further improvements to EHRbase ( inc JSON API ( related to specification work ongoing) , further work on documentation etc) before we can swap out EtherCIS to use EHRbase within our stack , but we intend to do so as when its ready for that.
We look forward to supporting and promoting EHRbase and continue to promote the important role of open source within the openEHR community and beyond

Hope that helps explain and helps others who may have the same question

Dr. Tony Shannon
Director, Ripple Foundation