The mission of OpenMRS is to improve healthcare delivery in resource-constrained environments by coordinating a global community that creates, and sustains, a robust, scalable, user-driven, open-source medical record platform. OpenMRS is a free medical record platform and is designed specifically to be used low-resource environments where AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria afflict the lives of millions of people.
OpenMRS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based out of Indianapolis, IN. The organization’s purpose is to support the OpenMRS community in its mission to improve healthcare delivery in resource-constrained environments. The OpenMRS organization provides infrastructure and leadership for the community, which supports the software for managing medical records and other health care systems being used in developing countries.
We have seen modern clinical practice provide miraculous care for individuals, but we have also witnessed the desperate need to scale clinical systems to thousands or millions of patients in constrained environments. As treatment programs grow, information isn’t just a part of the solution — information is care.
Solving the clinical information problem is both complex and highly involved. Health information systems are an essential component of health care globally. Information is power and must be considered as a part of the critical infrastructure of the health care system, similar to medications or personnel. In most developed countries, these information and knowledge problems have been solved with multimillion dollar health information technology solutions. We have seen the power and impact of health information systems within the United States and elsewhere. We believe that low and middle income countries deserve access to appropriate health information technology to address similar issues. OpenMRS can play a special role in these settings.
OpenMRS has been developed and designed to be responsive to the needs of constrained environments. This open-source work requires a passionate community interested in building healthcare systems for real world implementation in some of the world’s most challenging settings. OpenMRS built our community on real-world need and an inquisitive mindset.
Global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals and similar programs have identified that good health starts with an empowered patient. Local providers and local care networks also need to be empowered and finally national and even global health efforts need to be empowered. The traditional health-information-system model supports top-down, or proprietary, models of care that are not flexible enough to change to support local providers or patients. OpenMRS, as an open-source project, provides a unique solution which can put local providers and patients at the center of their health information ecosystem. It allows for low-resource settings, in particular, to benefit from the contributions of others while being able to customize and “own” their own technologies. This is a foundational transformation that allows for local innovation and the development of new solutions to difficult health-related problems. The OpenMRS community accompanies this work with a model that supports community development, capacity building and local empowerment.
Millions of people in low and middle income countries (LMICs) are suffering from communicable and noncommunicable diseases due to a lack of access to healthcare technology and infrastructure. Delivering health care at this scale demands effective health information management. Because of these limitations, diseases like Aids, Malaria, Tuberculosis, and noncommunicable diseases affect the lives of tens of millions globally.
This means health informatics technology has a critical role in improving health in low and middle income countries. While there are many very talented people within LMICs capable of building innovative solutions to local problems, these efforts often end up redundant and siloed and are impeded by the complexities of working with medical data.
We believe a shared and extensible electronic medical platform can provide a tide to rise all ships by tackling many of the complexities of medical information management common across all sites, while allowing developers to focus on innovative solutions atop the platform and allowing local implementations to shape solutions to meet their specific needs.
With the increasing development of antiretroviral (ARV) and antimalarial drugs, the next big hurdle is the distribution and tracking of epidemics and treatments. We believe a shared and extensible electronic medical platform can provide a tide to rise all ships by tackling many of the complexities of medical information management common across all sites, while allowing developers to focus on innovative solutions atop the platform and allowing local implementations to shape solutions to meet their specific needs. Medical informatics are the driving force of local and country wide policy change that impact healthcare delivery to solve these problems. Since most clinics in developing and low-resource environments are using paper-based records, OpenMRS created the free open-source electronic medical record platform to meet the specific needs of these challenging areas.
Since OpenMRS’ launch in 2007, more than 1,845 healthcare clinics in 64 countries are using OpenMRS to provide improved healthcare to 6.5 million patients. Countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda have widely adopted OpenMRS as their premier EMR platform or have declared it to be their official EMR. As a result of better healthcare information technology, countries where OpenMRS is predominantly used have seen a reduction in aids infection rates as well as deaths of both aids and malaria. Since its peak in 2005, aids-related deaths have declined by 38%, and tuberculosis-related deaths among people living with HIV have fallen by 32% since 2004.
OpenMRS is a global community of over 1,200 volunteers from over 60 different countries and is the backbone of the software. Developers from all over the world contribute code to the reference application as well as provide technical support to their local implementing clinics. The OpenMRS community brings together software developers from around the globe with a wide range of skill sets to work collaboratively to develop the software to support health care in these areas.
OpenMRS is an open-source electronic medical record platform being used in over 60 countries in 1,845 sites, positively impacting healthcare delivery to more than 6.3 million patients. The software was designed specifically for low-resource environments. It is a free, highly customizable, electronic health record platform which can be used on most current laptop and mobile devices.
OpenMRS is also a community of developers, implementers, and users working toward a shared and open foundation for managing health information in developing countries. Learn more about ways to join us.