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