What my work is here…cause i haven’t really told you

So I have been working very hard on my project this past week and I realized that I haven’t really explained to you all what I am actually doing here, work wise. I am in the process of writing up an abstract/full project report which will be in the “about project” section when I am done. But until then, here is a brief description of the project.

OpenMRS Overview
Open Medical Record System (OpenMRS®) formed in 2004 as a open source medical record system framework for developing countries. 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, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, 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).

OpenMRS Express is a pre-packaged program built specifically to follow HIV/AIDS and has been implemented throughout Kenya. It has pre-defined regimens for patients to enforce that patients are getting the correct medical advice and medicines. It also is capable to doing analysis of the HIV situation in different parts of the country for different groups of people and age groups. This system has been incredibly effective at providing communities with the correct amount of HIV medication and at making sure patients are receiving the right care.

OpenMRS and Us
We have decided to take OpenMRS to Nigeria. We are working on creating a pre-packaged program specific for Nigeria. The aspect that I am focusing on is maternal and child health. This process involves creating “concepts” for each aspect of maternal and child health, re-creating the clinics forms into an html version, and linking all the concepts and forms together so that they can be easily analyzed through reports. At first, this was incredibly difficult but Adam and I have finally gotten the hang of everything and have made some real progress!

We have finished the Immunization Form and last Thursday, I began to teach the Records Keeper, Ibrahim, how to use the system. Adam got an Inveneo computer (really low powered and portable) donated for the clinic so that is the computer that I have been teaching on. As we finish creating the other forms, I will start to teach them as well.

Teaching has been a bit more difficult than I had imagined. I forget that these people have no/very limited trainings with computers and I need to teach EVERYTHING. One of the hardest things I have come across is the “Delete” button. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to explain that in order to delete a word, you have to press the “backspace” button, not the “delete button. It’s the little things like that, that make teaching go very slowly.

So the goal of the project in the clinic is to have, by the end of the summer, the main forms made and have the clinic running the system by itself. We are getting at least one other computer for the clinic and will link them together so that they can share information. Power is not as big of a problem as I initially thought. The clinic does use its generator and the low powered computers help a lot!

The goal of the project over all is to create a pre-packaged program for Nigerian Maternal and Child Health that can be implemented at any clinic and needs little customization. We have been working with many organizations here that are very interested in also working with Medical Records Systems. We would like to partner with them on implementing OpenMRS throughout Nigeria to create a better understanding of the health situation here. Over the next year, we want to partner with clinics and schools in Northern Nigeria and then next summer, go and teach/implement the system.

Sorry for the kinda vague outline of the project. It all makes sense in my head but it is always more difficult to write it down. I think you can get the general idea though. I’ll let you all know when the final report is up so that you can read more about it.

Wish me luck on my teachings! I know I am going to need it!


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