Learnings from OpenMRS Conference in Nairobi

In December, three members of the Possible team attended the OpenMRS Implementers’ Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, an incredible gathering of global organizations using OpenMRS, open source medical record systems, designed for improving health in resource-constrained environments. The conference allowed implementers to learn about new developments, and share what they were experiencing on the ground.

The team had the opportunity to lead a session on DHIS2 integration with Bahmni, which highlighted how Possible is the first to implement integration between DHIS2 and Bahmni to automate monthly government reporting from our hospitals. There was also interest in the integration between Bahmni and Commcare (the mobile tool used by our community health workers), an ongoing project which will enable automated data sharing between the community and facility, a milestone towards advancing integrate healthcare.

With Nepal’s recent move to federalism and decentralized power, and the rollout of a national health insurance scheme, there is potential to design a globally relevant healthcare model at the local level. Possible is already working to integrate the healthcare and insurance systems, NepalEHR and OpenIMIS. 

NepalEHR, which Possible implemented at two public hospitals, is a version of the Bahmni distribution of OpenMRS, customized for Nepal’s public healthcare system.

“We had a great discussion on OpenIMIS integration approaches with GIZ, the aid arm of the German government, and Bahmni, the open source system we use in facilities. And we participated in a hackathon to build a nursing module for administrating medicines in Inpatient wards. It is an electronic Medicine Administration Recording system (eMAR),” added Laxman Manandhar, the Lead Developer of our NepalEHR platform.

The team observed KenyaEMR in action at a primary health facility, and learned how the Ministry of Health in Kenya helped scale KenyaEMR across the country. The team was also updated on new developments like Sync 2.0 for sync between OpenMRS servers, and Bahmni Mart for analytics, that will be incorporated into NepalEHR’s roadmap.

In the past six months, the team has shifted strategy and thinking around scale up, from increasing deployments of NepalEHR in “stand-alone” government-owned facilities, to developing in-country systems and a user community that can support and grow these innovations. The focus for NepalEHR is now on municipal healthcare delivery –using data and technology to build learning healthcare systems at the municipal level, small enough scale for feasibility, and big enough to prove impact and scalability.

“It was great to spend a week with implementers from around the world, after being part of the online forums. We left the gathering with a strong confidence that OpenMRS is more than a product, its strength is the community. We are proud that NepalEHR is a part of it. And, we hope to bring the OpenMRS conference to Nepal,” concluded Sanjay Poudel, Digital Systems Engineer.




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