OpenMRS is a free, open-source electronic medical record (EMR) system

OpenMRS is a free, open-source electronic medical record (EMR) system designed specifically to support health care in low-resource settings. With its comprehensive features and user-friendly interface, OpenMRS offers an efficient solution for managing patient information, tracking medications, and more. As an open-source platform, OpenMRS can be self-hosted, providing users with greater control over their data.

Some of the features of OpenMRS are:

  • Patient Management: Register and manage patient information, including demographics, medical history, and encounters.
  • Clinical Decision Support: Access evidence-based clinical guidelines to support decision-making.
  • Order Entry: Create and manage orders for medications, tests, and procedures.
  • Data Reporting & Analysis: Generate custom reports and analyze data for insights and decision-making.
  • Form Builder: Create custom forms to capture specific data elements for patient encounters.
  • Modular Architecture: Extend the functionality of OpenMRS through a wide range of modules and plugins.
  • Interoperability: Exchange data with other health information systems using standard communication protocols.
Feature Benefit
Patient Management Efficiently register and manage patient information.
Clinical Decision Support Make informed clinical decisions based on evidence-based guidelines.
Order Entry Streamline the process of creating and managing orders.
Data Reporting & Analysis Generate custom reports and analyze data for insights and decision-making.
Form Builder Capture specific data elements with custom forms.
Modular Architecture Extend the functionality of OpenMRS through modules and plugins.
Interoperability Exchange data with other health information systems seamlessly.

Use Cases:

  • Primary Care: Manage patient information and clinical data for individuals seeking primary care services.
  • Disease Surveillance: Track the prevalence and spread of infectious diseases in communities.
  • Health System Management: Monitor and evaluate the performance of health facilities and services.
  • Research: Collect and analyze health data for academic or operational research purposes.
  • Telemedicine: Support remote consultations and patient management in areas with limited access to healthcare providers.

Cost Benefit Table:

OpenMRS Commercial EMR (e.g., Cerner, Epic)
Free and open-source High licensing and implementation costs
Highly customizable Less customizable (vendor-dependent)
No official support Vendor support available
Community-driven updates Vendor-driven updates
Self-hosted Typically cloud-based

How to Install and Use:

To install OpenMRS, visit the OpenMRS website ( and download the latest version. Follow the installation instructions provided in the documentation. Once installed, you can create custom forms, manage patients, and extend the platform with additional modules.


  • Free and open-source, reducing costs for healthcare organizations.
  • Highly customizable to fit the needs of various healthcare settings.
  • Modular architecture allows for easy extensibility.
  • Strong community support and active development.


  • May require technical expertise to set up and maintain.
  • Limited out-of-the-box functionality compared to some commercial EMR systems.

In conclusion, OpenMRS is a powerful and flexible EMR system that is well-suited for low-resource settings. Its open-source nature and modular architecture make it an attractive option for healthcare organizations seeking an affordable and customizable solution. However, some technical expertise may be required to set up and maintain the platform.Overall, OpenMRS is a valuable tool for individuals, non-profits, and social justice organizations looking to improve healthcare delivery and data management in resource-limited settings. Its active community and ongoing development ensure that the platform continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of its users.

For organizations considering OpenMRS, it is essential to assess the available resources and technical expertise before implementation. It may be helpful to engage with the OpenMRS community, explore case studies, and review the available modules to determine if the platform is the right fit for your specific needs. By carefully planning the implementation and taking advantage of the wealth of resources provided by the OpenMRS community, you can successfully deploy this powerful EMR system to support and enhance your healthcare operations.

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