Frequently Asked Questions

What is OpenMRS?

OpenMRS is an 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 framework upon which medical informatics efforts in developing countries can be built.

OpenMRS is also a community of people working to apply health information technologies to solve problems, primarily in resource-poor environments.  We are a proud community of developers, implementers, funders, and users all trying to make the world a better place by using our expertise to improve the health and wellness of the planet.

Who is OpenMRS for?

OpenMRS is for people that need to implement a medical records system. It is both just a library of API calls and a database and a default implementation of those API calls in the form of a web application.

How much does OpenMRS cost?

OpenMRS is a free, open-source program. All of the core resources needed are open source and freely available.

Where is OpenMRS being used?

OpenMRS is in use around the world. Further implementations are underway in other locations globally through the work of such groups as the Millennium Villages Project and FACES. Nearly twelve million discrete observations have been collected for nearly 50,000 HIV patients with over 550,000 encounters within the AMPATH implementation in Kenya. The Jembi team in South Africa is leading the effort to form an implementers group to aid in further implementations.

Why should I use OpenMRS?

At this stage, OpenMRS requires a fairly sophisticated team of implementers to install and run. Such teams in several countries are in the process or considering implementations at this time. We are working toward a pre-built implementation that would allow more clinic sites to take advantage of a sophisticated, scalable EMR without needing the expertise to support and maintain it at a low level. OpenMRS is backed by a data model driven by a concept dictionary, allowing for the collection of coded, reusable data without requiring changes to the data model. Furthermore, OpenMRS is not based on an HIV-centric data model, so it can be adapted for use in tuberculosis, malaria, or general medical care. OpenMRS is based upon a program which has been used effectively for over 30 years at Regenstrief Institute.

What technologies is OpenMRS built on?

OpenMRS is programmed in Java and the core application works through a web-browser. Hibernate is used as an interface layer to the database. Tomcat is used as the web application server. The back end database is currently in MySQL. The system creates XML schemas for form design. Form design and form data entry is currently done in Microsoft Infopath, HTML, or XForms. When form data entered is submitted, it is converted into a HL7 message before going into the database.

Do I need the Java SDK to run OpenMRS? Or is the Java JRE sufficient?

The JRE is sufficient unless you are planning on doing code development.

Where can I get OpenMRS?

OpenMRS is a work in progress. The source code is always freely available for your review and download. You can find additional download information on the Downloads page.

What is the plan for new features in OpenMRS?

We will post our plans on the Road Map page in the OpenMRS Wiki.

Where can I see a working example of OpenMRS?

Our demo is a basic installation of OpenMRS with some common add-on modules and a sample patient data set. Try it out today!

What if my question isn’t answered here?

Drop us a line. Someone will be in touch with you promptly.