Our world continues to be ravaged by a pandemic of epic proportions, as over 40 million people are infected with or dying from HIV/AIDS -- most (up to 95%) are in developing countries. Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS on this scale requires efficient information management, which is critical as HIV/AIDS care must increasingly be entrusted to less skilled providers. Whether for lack of time, developers, or money, most HIV/AIDS programs in developing countries manage their information with simple spreadsheets or small, poorly designed databases...if anything at all. To help them, we need to find a way not only to improve management tools, but also to reduce unnecessary, duplicative efforts.
As a response to these challenges, OpenMRS formed in 2004 as a open source medical record system framework for developing countries -- a tide which rises all ships. OpenMRS is a multi-institution, nonprofit collaborative led by Regenstrief Institute, Inc. (http://regenstrief.org), a world-renowned leader in medical informatics research, and Partners In Health (http://pih.org), a Boston-based philanthropic organization with a focus on improving the lives of underprivileged people worldwide through health care service and advocacy. These teams nurture a growing worldwide network of individuals and organizations all focused on creating medical record systems and a corresponding implementation network to allow system development self reliance within resource constrained environments. To date, OpenMRS has been implemented in several African countries, including South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Lesotho, Uganda, and Tanzania. This work is supported in part by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Rockefeller Foundation, and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).