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Open source health IT for the planet


OpenMRS is a collaborative open source project to develop software to support the delivery of health care in developing countries.

It grew out of the critical need to scale up the treatment of HIV in Africa but from the start was conceived as a general purpose electronic medical record system that could support the full range of medical treatments.

The first ideas and prototype of OpenMRS were conceived by Paul Biondich and Burke Mamlin from the Regenstrief Institute, Indiana on a visit to the AMPATH project in Eldoret, Kenya in February 2004.

Around the same time the EMR team at Partners In Health led by Hamish Fraser and Darius Jazayeri were looking at ways to scale up the PIH-EMR web-based medical record system developed to manage drug resistant tuberculosis in Peru, and HIV in rural Haiti.

Paul, Burke and Hamish met in September 2004 at the Medinfo conference in San Francisco, and recognized they had a common approach to medical information systems and a similar philosophy for healthcare and development and OpenMRS was born.

Later, Chris Seebregts of the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) became the fourth founding member.

key features:

OpenMRS is based on a "concept dictionary" that describes all the data items that can be stored in the system such as clinical findings, laboratory test results or socio-economic data.

This approach avoids the need to modify the database structure to add new diseases for example, and facilitates sharing of data dictionaries between projects and sites.

An important features of OpenMRS is its modular construction which allows the programming of new functions without modifying the core code.

OpenMRS is web based but can be deployed on a single laptop or on a large server and runs on Linux, Windows.

OpenMRS is a Java-based, web-based electronic medical record Built on the MySQL database.


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