Transforming Healthcare in Rwanda.

October 29, 2015

31

health facilities implemented OpenMRS from 2013 to 2014.

OpenMRS allows health care providers to track, follow-up, manage, and better support patients. It also produces comprehensive reports, helping health care facility leadership make evidence-based decisions, and reducing mistakes made because of insufficient information, such as incorrect diagnoses. Aside from Rwanda, OpenMRS is also in use in the United States, South Africa, China, India, and many other countries.

During the past three years, Chemonics, USAID, and the Ministry of Health have greatly expanded the OpenMRS system. First, the program funded the purchase of information technology equipment, including servers, desktops, printers, and hard disk drives. Program staff also helped cable, validate, and test local area networks (LANs), which insured that service delivery points were interconnected over one LAN. Finally, program staff trained OpenMRS users on data entry and data retrieval and taught them how to use the information to make informed decisions to improve patient care and treatment. Another important component of training involved coaching data and information technology managers on the operating system, OpenMRS administration and maintenance, and LAN troubleshooting.

“When we used paper-based systems, it took too long to compile reports and make efficient follow-up of patients. With OpenMRS, we are able to generate and automatically upload accurate, complete, and timely reports, as well as retrieve any other required information in very short time and with less efforts and resources.”

Eugene Sezirahiga, data manager at Nyamata Hospital

“The promise of OpenMRS to help hospital staff track patient data and make informed decisions on treatment is reason to celebrate."

Peter A. Malnak, USAID mission director in Rwanda.

In 2013-2014, the Rwanda Family Health Project supported implementation of OpenMRS in 31 health facilities in 10 districts. As of September 2015, the system is being rolled out in the Gatsibo and Nyamagabe districts in 24 health facilities, consisting of three district hospitals and 21 health centers.

OpenMRS is already having a positive impact on Rwandan hospitals and health workers. “When we used paper-based systems, it took too long to compile reports and make efficient follow-up of patients,” said Eugene Sezirahiga, data manager at Nyamata Hospital. “With OpenMRS, we are able to generate and automatically upload accurate, complete, and timely reports, as well as retrieve any other required information in very short time and with less efforts and resources.”

Initially, OpenMRS was rolled out in Rwanda to support HIV services, but hospital staff will also use the system for antenatal and maternity services, neonatology, pediatric consultation, family planning and gynecology, internal medicine, emergency clinical services, and billing services. With OpenMRS already contributing to an improved patient experience in a variety of ways, hopes are high for the system to make a larger impact on Rwanda’s health sector.

“The promise of OpenMRS to help hospital staff track patient data and make informed decisions on treatment is reason to celebrate,” said Peter A. Malnak, USAID mission director in Rwanda.