Open source EHR platform tailored to treat Ebola patients

Greg Slabodkin | Health Data Management | August 23, 2017

An open-source electronic health record system developed to treat Ebola patients during the recent epidemic in West Africa is being touted as a potential solution for clinical data collection in highly infectious environments and resource-constrained healthcare settings. Implemented two years ago at Save the Children International’s Kerry Town Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone, the EHR leverages a Java-based web application called OpenMRS that enables the design of a customized medical records system with no programming.

Shefali OzaDeveloped in less than three months, OpenMRS-Ebola consists of a modular stand-alone EHR system with a tablet-based application for infectious patient wards (red zone) and a desktop-based application for noninfectious areas (green zone). The Sony Xperia Z2 10.1-inch tablet was selected for the EHR because it was waterproof and could be disinfected with chlorine. Features of the system include the ability to support patient tracking, record vital signs and symptoms, order medication, show laboratory results, as well as writing clinician notes and exporting data.

A paper describing OpenMRS-Ebola was published this week in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. “In the red zone, the user interface was optimized for readability, speed, and ease of use by users wearing personal protective equipment,” according to the article’s authors. “We designed the tablet UI for portrait mode because users found it easier to hold the tablet vertical when using one hand.”...