Looking at OpenMRS to build an academic EHR

Nursing Informatics Group has been unable to afford to develop an EHR. We would like to develop our own with a sandbox area for implementing improvements and then be able to undue those improvements so multiple students can get the experience of implementing changes to a basic EHR. This program would also be utilized for other groups ( IT, Physicians, etc.) as we are associated with a large education group. We were wondering if OpenMRS would be a place to start this build? Also need to ask if we build a special academic EHR would we have ownership of it?

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Openmrs would be a good place to start

@sunbiz leads a lot of the academic work for OpenMRS and would be great to chat with him. Since this is an open source community you would have ownership but good citizenship means you should consider gifting it back to the community

Please refer to the OpenMRS license for what you can and cannot do : http://openmrs.org/license/

Happy to help

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At IUPUI, we use an implementation of OpenMRS that has taken de-identified data from community health centers and added to an OpenMRS instance. We use this, as part of a couple of courses now (HIM200 - database design for HIM and B513 - electronic health record systems), but plan to design other courses that can use parts of data (and forms etc.) to meet the learning objectives. We’ve been in discussion with a few other universities (and health and nursing informatics programs) to share this instance, where they can design courses, share data… we are working on agreements on how to do this in a secure and appropriate way, even though the data is de-identified…

Indeed, you would own any implementation you do on your own. The license is the best place to look.

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Thank you everyone for your responses to my initial questions. I have reported back to my team and will be posting more questions as we look at this option.

Saptarshi Purkayastha,

The courses that you have developed ( HIM200 ) with OpenMRS can you tell me the cost incurred by the university to develop and implement?

@kwest0719, I don’t think I have a clear cost analysis for the course. Since its an infrastructure that encompasses multiple courses and is expanding on multiple aspects and features. But a rough estimate for just the M200 course aspects were - a semester of my time (2-3 hrs/week) and a graduate assistants (5 hrs/week). The CHC data came from another project, so that cost is probably significant, but we didn’t have to incur it.

Saptarshi Purkayastha and others,

Thank you for your response about cost analysis. I have attached a file of our beginning ( working copy ) for screens in the EHR. At your convenience if you would look at them and see if you feel like this could be done with OpenMRS.

Sorry, I dont see an attachment

@sunbiz, Wow, nice! Didn’t know you used it in this way :smiley: I love seeing OpenMRS used in an educational environment.

EHRScreens (1).pdf (816.4 KB)

Ok Guys ! I converted to PDF.

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We are planning to implement smart card based patient authentication EHR using openMRS for a small group of Physicians/Doctors. We would like to know if someone has been able to use this idea and would be happy for some help during implementation, Thanks

Is this supposed to be part of the same academic EHR. If not, then please create a separate thread so that it can get better visibility.

I am not sure I have time at the moment to review all pages and make a complete assessment. The first landing page looks like an overall dashboard of sorts. There isn’t that functionality, though you can use the reporting module to create all those charts and then write an open web app that shows those as the kind of dashboard you need. The different locations, patient encounters, obs and all are implemented through forms and you’ll need to customize those depending on the fields you need. Can be done through Xforms or HTML forms. There isn’t a workflow or ordering that you need, but rather just patient medication history and that should be fairly easy to implement in the reference application out of the box.


Yes this is a part of the same EHR eventually but not in our primary development phase. I have utilized a smart card EHR ( at my other job, ER Nurse) and we had several glitches because of the multiple programs that we must access and security tags for door entry. I am available for questions about this if you feel I could be of assistance.

Thank you Saptarshi, for looking at the screens. Yes it is a volume ! I have sent all of your responses to my working group. We will meet again today. Looking at your primary screens I believe that we could build here. That will be my recommendation but we will need to get approval from administration and working group .