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Augmenting Medical Records: OpenMRS

OpenMRS, or The Open Medical Record System, is a free, open-source attempt at creating a distributed electronic patient records system. It is web based, written in Java, and is under active development.

OpenMRS was born out of a collaboration between two non-profit health groups: The Regenstrief Institute and Partners In Health.

The Regenstrief Institute, Inc. is a private, non-profit research organisation affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine, in the US.

Partners In Health is also US based, operating out of Boston. It is dedicated to providing what it calls a "preferential option for the poor", and dedicated to healthcare.

Between them, they have created what is in essence, the same type of future of healthcare system that the British NHS and Google have also been independently working towards: The ability with the proper authorisation, to access any patient's healthcare information instantly, from any point on the planet.

The system is a full enterprise-level product, with emphasis on secure information, as well as intercompatibility. A dedicated database format is fully DICOM compatible, allowing the system to work with almost any digital medical equipment currently existing.

The interface has been designed in such a way as that doctors and other health professionals do not have to understand a single programming language to use it, simply an understanding of data analysis - which frequently comes with the career anyhow.

Based on a dynamic, morphing database structure, made possible by conceptualised table structure, the system does not care what type of medical data is stored, so long as the key patient fields are present - it literally adds new fields as necessary for each entry. This allows for all manner of medical data to be stored in the same table - and thus searched for and manipulated quickly and easily.

Taken from the OpenMRS site:

OpenMRS is based on the principle that information should be stored in a way which makes it easy to summarise and analyse, i.e. minimal use of free text and maximum use of coded information. At its core is a concept dictionary which stores all diagnosis, tests, procedures, drugs and other general questions and potential answers. OpenMRS is a client-server application which means it is designed to work in an environment where many client computers access the same information on a server.


Partners In Health

Regenstrief Institute, Inc.


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