Objective: OpenMRS (www.openmrs.org) is a configurable open source electronic medical record application developed and maintained by a large network of open source developers coordinated by the Regenstrief Institute and Partners in Health and mainly used for HIV patient and treatment information management in Africa. Our objective is to develop an open Implementers Network for OpenMRS to provide regional support for the growing number of OpenMRS implementations in Africa and to include African developers and implementers in the future growth of OpenMRS. Methods: We have developed the OpenMRS Implementers Network using a dedicated Wiki site and e-mail server. We have also organized annual meetings in South Africa and regional training courses at African locations where OpenMRS is being implemented. An OpenMRS Internship program has been initiated and we have started collaborating with similar networks and projects working in Africa. To evaluate its potential, OpenMRS was implemented initially at one site in South Africa by a single implementer using a downloadable OpenMRS application and only the OpenMRS Implementers Network for support. Results: The OpenMRS Implementers Network Wiki and list server have grown into effective means of providing implementation support and forums for exchange of implementation experiences. The annual OpenMRS Implementers meeting has been held in South Africa for the past three years and is attracting successively larger numbers of participants with almost 200 implementers and developers attending the 2008 meeting in Durban, South Africa. Six African developers are presently registered on the first intake of the OpenMRS Internship program. Successful collaborations have been started with several African developer groups and projects initiated to develop interoperability between OpenMRS and various applications. The South African OpenMRS Implementer group successfully configured, installed and maintained an integrated HIV/TB OpenMRS application without significant programming support. Since then, this model has been replicated in several other African sites. Conclusions: The OpenMRS Implementers Network has contributed substantially to the growth and sustainability of OpenMRS in Africa and has become a useful way of including Africans in the development and implementation of OpenMRS in developing countries. The Network provides valuable support and enables a basic OpenMRS application to be implemented in the absence of onsite programmers.
Seebregts, C. J.; Mamlin, B. W.; Biondich, P. G.; Fraser, H. S. F.; Wolfe, B. A.; Jazayeri, D.; Allen, C.; Miranda, J.; Baker, E.; Musinguzi, N.; Kayiwa, D.; Fourie, C.; Lesh, N.; Kaner, A.; Yiannoutsos, C. T.; Bailey, C. The OpenMRS Implementers Network. International Journal of Medical Informatics (2009) 78 (11) 711-720. [DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2008.09.005]