Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS)

Peter J. Groen, Terry Cullen | Virtual Medical Worlds | June 28, 2007

If one were looking to acquire and implement a comprehensive "open source" electronic health record (EHR) system, serious consideration should be paid to the Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS) used by the Indian Health Service (IHS).

RPMS is an adaptation of the VistA health information system originally developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), modified to meet the needs of IHS. RPMS is an integrated health information system ideally suited for implementation in healthcare facilities of varying sizes and complexity. Patients treated at IHS facilities tend to include a diverse mix of all age patients, males and females. While RPMS is deployed at many IHS inpatient facilities, it is more heavily utilized in ambulatory care settings.

The Indian Health Service (HIS) within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is charged with administering the principal healthcare program for American Indians and Alaskan Natives and provides comprehensive health services through a system of federal IHS, tribal, and urban-operated facilities and programs. 

These facilities and programs provide health services to 1.4 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives through 144 service units composed of more than 500 direct healthcare delivery facilities, including 49 hospitals, 190 health centers, 7 school health centers, and 287 health stations, satellite clinics, and Alaskan village clinics.

The IHS and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have a longstanding tradition of health information and technology sharing spanning the past several decades. In 1984, the IHS began implementation of the VA VistA software, then referred to as DHCP, at sixty of their facilities. They called their version of the VistA system the IHS Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS). Many components of the RPMS health information system are still based on the VistA system. A number of RPMS software modules have also been incorporated into VistA over the years.