Run a Hospital on a Raspberry Pi with GNU Health

Run a Hospital on a Raspberry Pi with GNU Health

It may come to you as a surprise that you can run a complete system for hospital and medical facility management with a Raspberry Pi. But you can.

In this article, I will explain to you how this is possible. But first, let’s breakdown the equation for you.

Run a Hospital on a Raspberry Pi with GNU Health

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a single-board box-sized computer that gains repetition over the years for prototyping and creating real-life applications. In short, Raspberry Pi is a complete computer but in a tiny package. It’s already begin used for education, prototyping, “internet of things” IoT, robotics, and more.

There are several models for Raspberry Pi, a supportive community that releases dozens of resources websites, video tutorials, showcases, and guides for it.

We “Medevel” made a list of Raspberry Pi medical applications that includes demos, proof-of-concept projects, and production-ready applications.

Besides its large community, Raspberry Pi comes with many advantages:  it’s very cheap and affordable, easy to install, and maintains.

GNU Health

Run a Hospital on a Raspberry Pi with GNU Health
GNU Health Calendars Management

GNU Health is our favorite hospital management and electronic health record system. Not just because of its rich feature-list and clinical-specific modules but also because it’s a libre open-source system.

GNU Health supports many clinical and management scenarios that make it affordable options for hospitals with different sizes and setup.

The project started in 2008 by Dr. Luis Falcon as a clinical management system for hospitals and clinics in rural areas. The project has been evolving ever since as it gains popularity in Africa and support with a well-formed community.

In 2011 the project joined official GNU projects as Richard Stallman declared it as a part of official GNU packages.

GNU Health works primarily on GNU/Linux based distributions and BSD-base distributions as FreeBSD. It also offers desktop clients for macOS and a web-client that works seamlessly with all popular web browsers.

The project comes with many clinical modules, tools, and packages to cover all aspects of running a hospital.

GNU Health Features

Here is the GNU Health modules list:

  1. Patient registration
  2. Patient records management
  3. Nursing
  4. Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  5. Surgery
  6. Pediatrics
  7. Radiology management (medical imaging management)
  8. In-patient management
  9. ICU “intensive care unit” management
  10. Demographics and Epidemiology
  11. Tropical (neglected and rare) disease manager that includes
  12. Laboratory Information Management System “LIMS”

GNU health also features powerful administrative modules:

  1. Advanced reporting system
  2. Advanced accounting modules: Financial accounting and analytic accounting
  3. Purchase administration
  4. Stock and inventory management
  5. Calendar management

On the technical side, Gnu Health offers a complete setup and configuration guide. There are also instructions for system backups restore and upgrades.

Now, let’s come to the topic of the day:

What does it take to run GNU Health on Raspberry Pi?

GNU Health offers a GNU Health embedded, a Linux-based disk image for Raspberry Pi 3 with the openSUSE Linux Tumbleweed.

Run a Hospital on a Raspberry Pi with GNU Health
openSUSE Linux logo. (src: openSUSE)

The openSUSE Linux is an enterprise-grade desktop open-source Linux distribution that comes with advanced tools, a stable environment, and an active community.  It’s a reliable option for home and office computers.

Installation and setup GNU Health Embedded on Raspberry Pi

It takes a few minutes to install and setup GNU health and make it up and running on Raspberry Pi.

You can start by downloading the GNU Health Raspberry Pi image, uncompressing, and burning it on the SD card.

If everything goes as expected, you will be able to boot the Raspberry Pi device without any problems.

Here are the default passwords to access the system:

  • root: freedom
  • genuhealth: freedom

Don’t forget to change the password once you log-in.

Concerns about using Raspberry Pi.

Some may be skeptical about using a single-board computer to manage hospitals or clinics. Others may have concerns about performance, security, backup, and data safety. However, the GNU Health Embedded or “GNU Health in a Box” is proven to be reliable in many hospital and clinical environments.


  1. GNU Health
  2. GNU Health Embedded
  3. GNUHealth, open source hospital information system (HIS) is gaining more ground
  4. Raspberry Pi medical and healthcare applications
  5. openSUSE Linux
  6. openSUSE Linux for Raspberry Pi 3