The mission of OpenMRS is to improve health care delivery in resource-constrained environments by coordinating a global community that creates a robust, scalable, user-driven, open source medical record system platform.
OpenMRS is a software platform and a reference application which enables design of a customized medical records system with no programming knowledge (although medical and systems analysis knowledge is required). It is a common platform upon which medical informatics efforts in developing countries can be built. The system is based on a conceptual database structure which is not dependent on the actual types of medical information required to be collected or on particular data collection forms and so can be customized for different uses.
Our world continues to be ravaged by pandemics of epic proportions, as over 40 million people are infected with diseases such as HIV/AIDS, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, and malaria – most (up to 95%) of these afflictions are present in developing countries. Prevention and treatment interventions on this scale require efficient information management, which is critical as clinical care must increasingly be entrusted to less skilled providers. Whether for lack of time, developers, or money, most health care programs in developing countries manage their information with simple spreadsheets or small, poorly designed databases … if anything at all. To help them, we need to find a way not only to improve management tools, but also to reduce unnecessary, duplicate efforts.
OpenMRS is based on the principle that information should be stored in a way which makes it easy to summarize and analyze, i.e., minimal use of free text and maximum use of coded information. At its core is a concept dictionary which stores all diagnosis, tests, procedures, drugs and other general questions and potential answers. OpenMRS is a client-server application, which means it is designed to work in an environment where many client computers access the same information on a server.