Open Source Software supporting emergency care efforts in Haiti

Just another post about this region, but from a bit different perspective … and this one is meant especially for those who are still thinking that Open Source software in the area of health care is a useless toy for computer fetishists and far from being deployed in a productive clinical environment.

OpenMRS - an Open Source EMR system

Since the beginning of 2003 the Bosten-based Partners in Health (PIH) rolled out a web-based EMR to primarily track HIV patient within Haiti. Meanwhile the system was replaced by the FOSS EMR software OpenMRS and is deployed in 9-10 PIH hospitals spread over Haiti (and by the way more than 20 countries worldwide). Luckily these hospitals are networked via satellite links, so still online after all other systems went down after the earthquake. Only an instance of the system which was used in a now destroyed hospital of the Médicins Sans Frontières directly in Port-au-Prince seems not to be at service anymore.

According to Hamish Fraser, director of informatics and telemedicine for PIH, OpenMRS served before the current crisis more than 14,000 patient records and is now used to “… generate reports for the government and funders and make lab data available to the physicians and medication lists for the pharmacists. We also built a drug supply management tool to track all the medications in our main warehouse and our 10 hospitals.” as Fraser said in an interview with the Healthcare IT News.

Surely FOSS will not play a keyrole in the relief efforts, but still provide considerable means to support medical care for the Haitian people. Also take a look at Fred Trotters article “OpenMRS shines in Haiti” who originally pointed me to this.

PIH welcomes any donations to support their efforts in Haiti.

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