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Global health IT professionals tackle open source medical software in summit

Developers and users of free and open source software for use in health centers around the world have assembled in Silang this week for the sixth annual OpenMRS Implementers Meeting. The event is being held at the Y.C. James Yen Center at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) and is hosted by the National Telehealth Center (NTHC) of the University of Philippines-Manila. More details after the jump.

OpenMRS (Medical Record System) is a patient-centric medical record application that records medical interactions between health care providers and patients. It is a flexible technology platform that supports delivery of health care in some of the most challenging environments, and is an ideal tool for delivering IT services to the health sector because its design decisions are based on real needs, and is adaptable to the unique needs of users around the world. Being open source, all processes and software have been made transparent; and knowledge, skills, experiences and failure have been publicly documented.

OpenMRS is now in use on every continent in the world in countries including South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Haiti, India, China, United States, Pakistan, the Philippines, and many other places. This work is supported in part by many international organizations including international and government aid groups, NGOs, as well as for-profit and nonprofit corporations.

OpenMRS is built and maintained by a community of developers, implementers, and users working toward a shared and open foundation for managing health information in developing countries. This year’s event will be attended by OpenMRS implementers and developers in 21 countries from around the world.

Seeing the advantages of using OpenMRS as a framework for developing electronic medical records (EMRs) for primary health care centers in the Philippines, the NTHC embarked on a large-scale implementation of its Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS) using OpenMRS starting December 2011, making it the largest implementer of OpenMRS in both the Philippines and Asia.

By hosting the 2012 OpenMRS Implementers Meeting from October 9-12, the NTHC hopes to encourage more Filipinos to become active members of the OpenMRS community and build more health care capacity in the country. This year marks the first time the meeting is being held outside the continent of Africa, and it presents an opportunity for the Philippines to take on a leadership role in Asia as an OpenMRS implementer. The local governments of Quezon City and Navotas, who are implementing the system, will also be able to showcase their efforts in providing support to primary health care centers in the Philippines through implementations of CHITS-OpenMRS. (Ana Maria Chupungco/National Telehealth Center, University of the Philippines - Manila)

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