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Scaling your free software system: lessons from a decade of OpenMRS by libreplanet

Judy Gichoya

By sheer luck and opportunity, a group of four doctors in 2004 at a restaurant used napkins to sketch the data model of what they thought would be a simple electronic medical records system.

Fast track to today, this simple medical records system is known as OpenMRS (Open Medical Record System), a free medical records system in use in over 42 countries in the world. For example, when Google worked on the ‘Ebola tablet’ under project Buendia, OpenMRS powered it. After the national disaster in Haiti struck, OpenMRS powered the new Mirebalais hospital. Six countries committed to deploy OpenMRS as their national EMR system including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Philippines and Bangladesh. OpenMRS has never hired developers for the decade of existence, yet every single day people from all over the world come to our platform and ask us how can they get involved?

This session shares a decade of running a lean organization to provide free medical records software, what has worked and what threatens our sustainability.

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