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Non tech savvy - Non US use of Openemr is … - Question/Opinion

I was hesitant to post my question/opinion about using Openemr as a medical professional with “basic” computer and networking skills. In my quest to find an open source clinic EHR system I found Openemr to provide a LOT but with some shortcomings.

-My main problem when I started to get involved in Openemr was the documentation. I found it outdated and not user friendly with little diagrams, screenshots and very old YouTube videos. As most physicians/clinicians (at least where I live) are kind of tech “deficient”. This is a big shortcoming.
-The second main problem was that Openemr is US centered. From using US units to using American Insurance and certification requirements. Which makes using Openemr for non-US users a bit overwhelming.
-In between these two problems there is a lot to think of.

Now am I looking in the wrong places? am I tech illiterate and cant handle open source culture? How one can help make the process of using Openemr easier for oneself and others who will reach out to use in the future. And when its a user friendly experience how to spread the word to help health care professionals and organizations to use EHR for their practices because not all countries have strong healthcare systems nor have the enough resources.

I understand its not simple to just have an executable with click to run option. But having a simple stripped down version of Openemr with easy deployment options would be a dream come true for a lot of non tech savvy users like myself.

I have to acknowledge that there are a lot of users who seems to help when they have the chance (thumbs up), and thanks to google and stack overflow I managed a LOT (at least for now).

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You are right that a lot of the help documents are outdated. I am currently working on a knowedgebase site for developers but I think it would be nice to have videos for end users as well. The most recent versions of OpenEMR haven’t changed much in their basic structure but there have been many improvements to keep up-to-date with different sets of requirements needed in the US.

One of your options is to pay a developer / trainer to provide a series of training sessions to get you up to speed on the basic functioning. A developer can also modify OpenEMR to match your specific workflow, which is a major benefit to going with OpenEMR. The software itself is free, your only costs are for support, custom development, and hiring someone to teach the basics (if needed). At the end of the day, you will save a bunch of money compared to the costs of getting one of the non-opensource proprietary EHR’s available.

Although OpenEMR is USA-centric it has been used in Europe, South America, and Africa and can be customized to meet your needs. Feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to work with you.

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@growlingflea i am willing to learn and trying to do my best and i understand that developers do a lot of work and to have training costs money. I need to tell you where i live closed source EMR/EHR can cost something between a 150 USD up to 5000+ USD with less than half what Openemr has to offer. I would eventually try when i have enough knowledge to may be pass the basics on for free so i can continue the legacy of this open source on to others.

@growlingflea i sure will contact you over private messages to see how can i benefit from your skill.

Hi Hi Mohamed,

If you look under administration -> globals -> locale

It gives you the option to change the units from US to metric, along with other customizations.

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@Rachel_Ellison already did it long time ago but some other stuff is not changed from administration>globals such as Firstname Lastname instead of the opposite which i changed as suggested to me before in the lists while didn’t get changed in the calendar. This is just an example.

Hi Mohamed,

Consultant for a European user here. There are a number of issues with the installation as-is for non-US and non-English environments:

  • Translations are not complete or sometimes just plain wrong. We solved it by standardising on the English-language version because we have an international staff anyway, but if that’s not an option, you can always improve the translations yourself and share it with the community.
  • US-specific stuff can be edited away from the application by an IT-professional who takes training and/or dives deep into the application structure. There is a disadvantage to this as it will make it substantially harder to upgrade to later versions.

Our solution to dealing with the US-centric aspects was to ignore them and build around them: we deployed a Mirth Connect server on the side to deal with integrations with (other) internal and external systems, but also to provide business processes that aren’t covered by OpenEMR. Whenever a business process needs to be triggered by some data entry in OpenEMR, there is a technical process that monitors the underlying database, selects the required values and starts a Mirth channel.
It is not perfect to program in Javascript, but it gets the job done and it avoids changing too much of the existing codebase.
Sometimes however, you cannot but change the codebase itself. Document it well and make sure you can re-apply your changes after an upgrade. If you’re not computer-savvy yourself, get an IT professional. For sustainable changes, best make it a partner who sticks with you because when you start from scratch, the effort to dive into the depths of openEMR is substantial.

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Thanks for the info. Definitely a great idea to take care when customizing to make sure it can work after upgrades. This why when I goof around making changes (simple) I try to hide or reuse what’s already on the table, instead of deleting or making radical changes.

As for the translations for Arabic (in my case) I find them good but not complete, there is a lot not translated.

Regarding the technical info you shared, I can’t say I follow any of it :sweat_smile:. But then this is what I was talking about. There are a lot of healthcare providers worldwide (not the US and europe) with no access to EHR or EMR. Either because they have no financial resources or they think its rocket science. I can’t deny Openemr in this moment is a great choice. It’s free, open source, updated pretty regularly, with lots of features. But since its US centered and needs a lot of customizations I guess a lot will jump the ship if they understood the concept of installing it in the first place. But again I think the effort that have been in Openemr is enormous and giving it for free is already fantastic.

A dream come true would be to make a lightweight click to run version that covers all specialities and need minimal infrastructure with easy for dummies instructions. May be I will help someday !