The Importance of Health Information Technology in Developing Areas

Health Information Technology (Health IT) is a broad term that describes the technology and infrastructure used to record, analyze, and share patient health data. Various technologies include health record systems, including personal, paper, and electronic; personal health tools including smart devices and apps; and finally, communities to share and discuss information.

The purpose of Health IT is to provide better care for patients and help achieve health equity. Health IT supports recording of patient data to improve healthcare delivery and allow for analysis of this information for both healthcare practitioners and ministry of health/government agencies. This data is used for the implementation of policies in order to better treat and prevent the spread of diseases.

Health IT improves the quality of healthcare delivery, increases patient safety, decreases medical errors, and strengthens the interaction between patients and healthcare providers. In low and middle-income countries (LMIC) the need for reliable and affordable medical record software is paramount. The OpenMRS community helps meet this specific need by developing and supporting the Open Medical Record System – an open-source electronic health record (EHR) platform, specifically designed for low-resource environments, and is completely free.

The use of Health IT in medical clinics improves the quality of healthcare that is delivered by providing accurate patient records and allows doctors to better understand the patient’s medical history. Having a comprehensive patient history empowers doctors to more accurately treat ailments and prevent over-prescribing medications which can be fatal. Without medical records, physician’s would need to depend on the patient’s memory, which can lead to inaccurate medical history due to forgetfulness, complex drug names, and ailments affecting the patient’s recollection.

Patients that suffer from disease and ailments directly benefit from Health IT because of the improved level of care. The benefits of electronic health records include: Better health care by improving all aspects of patient care, including safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, communication, education, timeliness, efficiency, and equity.

The OpenMRS community brings together software developers, senior medical and health care staff, implementers and organizers from around the globe with a wide range of skill sets to work collaboratively to develop the software to support health care in these areas. OpenMRS’ global community of over 1,200 volunteers from over 60 different countries and is the backbone of the software. Developers from all over the world contribute code to the reference application as well as provide technical support to their local implementing clinics. The OpenMRS community brings together software developers from around the globe with a wide range of skill sets to work collaboratively to develop the software to support health care in these areas. In addition, the community has a large pool of senior medical and healthcare staff, who are also informaticians, to mentor and guide the design of that software. Lastly, we engage organizations, implementers and health care team members from those areas that need our software to provide input into the design and the prioritization of features.

Donating to OpenMRS ensures that the infrastructure supporting our developers and implementers worldwide are funded. This infrastructure is the core of the OpenMRS global realm where our free software is available for anyone and everyone with the simplest computer or tablet to run in their health clinic. Historically, OpenMRS has been used to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and ebola.


Why give to OpenMRS Inc.:

  •         We collaborate: Donors and governments are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to implement OpenMRS worldwide.
  •         We leverage support: We use every dollar you give to amplify the hundreds of volunteer hours (equating to over $1 million a year in volunteer time!)
  •         We function efficiently: We have helped strengthen healthcare delivery around the globe with an annual budget of only $100,000 for the past 5 years.
  •         We continuously respond to help those most in need: Your contribution, and those of others will allow us to continue to extend the benefits of OpenMRS to millions of people in more countries around the world, and to respond to emerging healthcare challenges in these communities.

OpenMRS, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Tax I.D. number is 45-5316647.
Financial contributions to OpenMRS Inc. are tax-deductible.
OpenMRS Inc., 1101 West 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 USA

The Importance of Health Information Technology in Developing Areas
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