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5 Open Source EMRs Worth Reviewing

Posted Apr 26 2011 1:01pm

There is a continuing demand for electronic medical records (EMR) everywhere today and this is mainly due to the advancements made in the field of health care. One of the highly acknowledged   means in the facilitation of EMR’s is through open source software concept which intends to free users from any form of proprietary software.

Open source EMR’s operate on an open source license and in a public domain   for utilization in the health care industry. These are program applications that aim to simplify and speed up health care transactions and allow users the freedom to run, copy, distribute as well as change and make revisions with the software.

Herewith is a list of 5 open sources EMR’s that is worth reviewing:

  • OpenEMR
  • OSCAR McMaster
  • Hospital OS
  • OpenMRS
  • Free MED

OpenEMR: Widely-used and popular

The OpenEMR is licensed under the General GNU Public License and aims to create high quality EMR as well as a practice management system. Its major features include the following:

  • Multi-language support
  • Free online support
  • Electronic billing including Medicare
  • Document management
  • E-prescribing
  • Easy installation
  • Web based
  • Insurance tracking
  • Integration with external general accounting program  SQL-Ledger

This open source EMR is very versatile and operates in Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and MS Windows. More and more medical practitioners in the US, Europe as well as from Asian countries are now actively testing or using the OpenEMR for their electronic medical records program. It has continuously been translated into different languages in order for various nationalities to appreciate the program more fully.

OSCAR Master EMR: Traces its Origins in Canada

The OSCAR Master EMR was initially developed for academic primary care clinics which have since branched out to become one of the popularly used billing systems in Canada and other countries.

Its features include the following:

  • Oscar Encounter- contains pertinent patient information, history as well as progress notes and other related documents.
  • OscarRX- is the specific prescription program that enables one to create prescriptions, save personalized prescription info and other pertinent data regarding possible drug allergies of each patient.

OSCAR Master derived its name from the acronym OSCAR which stands for Open Source Clinical Application and Resource while Master is coined from McMaster University where the open source EMR was developed.  It is certified by OntarioMD; a highly regarded medical organization in Canada for meeting high standards and complying with the requirements for an advanced clinical support and practice management programs.

Hospital OS: Aimed Towards Advancement of Thailand Health Care

The Hospital OS has the major aim of supporting small hospitals with full financial support from the Thailand Research Fund, National Health Foundation and Thai Medical Informatics Society. It was founded in 2002 as an action research project. It aims to provide medical service and hospital management with a focus on small-scale health centers and rural hospitals with at least 100 beds and 300 outpatients per day in highly remote areas specifically on Thailand’s countryside.

Its most basic features are the following:

  • Registration and simple EMR system
  • Outpatient and in patient service
  • Pharmacy :dispensary and stock
  • Management information system and financial information management system

Despite limited resources toward technological advancements   this open source EMR has been created by developers who aim to establish effective information systems. Another major purpose of   the program is to bring about sustainable development among various communities in Thailand and hopefully include other Asian countries.

OpenMRS: Excellent software for quality health care in developing countries

The OpenMRS (Medical Record System) program was designed and created in 2004 for the purpose of helping developing countries especially in seeking solutions and treatment intervention for rampant diseases and illnesses such as HIV/Aids and malaria. It is founded on the principles of idea-sharing as well as software and strategies for use. It is now currently utilized in countries such as Africa, Uganda, Haiti, USA, China, India and Philippines.

It is based on the principle of information storage in a way that is easily summarized with minimal use of free text and maximum use of coded information. It is a web-based program that runs on Linux, Windows or Mac OS X. Some of its features are the following:

  • Central concept dictionary
  • User authentication
  • Data entry and data export
  • Modular architecture
  • Patient  workflows and merging
  • Internationalization
  • Support for complex data

Free Med: Focus on Medical billing Programs

Free Med is an open source EMR based on Linux or Apache and officially started in 1999 by J.Buchbinder of Connecticut, USA. It is a descendant of Amos, a Pascal/dbase program way back in 1983 when databases and programming were not yet in prevalent use.

Its main features include the following:

  • Web based interface
  • Uses subversion as concurrent versioning system
  • Usage of REMITT an external billing program which allows for multiple  formats of output  to be generated from the same base data

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