AHRQ Providing Support for OpenMRS

Bernie Monegain | Government Health IT | March 15, 2013

AHRQ [Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality] funded health IT research has helped organizations provide better care in developing countries, a new report from the agency shows. The report shines a light on what Boston-based Partners in Health has accomplished on this score. Partners in Health, or PIH, a global health nonprofit organization, which provides care in some of the poorest countries in the world, helped develop an open source electronic medical record system known as OpenMRS. The work was influenced by AHRQ-funded research on electronic order writing and computer reminders. OpenMRS is now impacting healthcare delivery in developing countries, as well as in the United States, Canada and Europe, according to AHRQ.

As the AHRQ report explains it, “PIH and the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis conceived of OpenMRS in 2005 as a flexible, open source EMR that would be capable of meeting the demand for high-quality health information in developing countries such as Rwanda and Kenya, where the two organizations were then working. The work was inspired by AHRQ-funded research by William Tierney, MD, and his colleagues at the Regenstrief Institute, which identified factors that are important to the design and successful implementation of EMR systems. PIH and Regenstrief used this research as a central contribution toward the development of OpenMRS. OpenMRS has since grown into a multi-institution, nonprofit software collaborative backed by a global software development community.”

According to Evan Waters, director of medical informatics at PIH, the organization has a long history of using OpenMRS in developing countries...