“Next we drove into the city of Mirebalais to see the new hospital run by PIH and the Haitian government. I was blown away. The hospital opened last summer and was built using money donated after the 2010 earthquake (people who were injured in the quake still need ongoing treatment). They spared no expense to make it a first-class facility. There’s a machine for performing CAT scans. There’s a sophisticated system for keeping medical records. The staff can send digital images to Harvard and get input from specialists there.”
These are the words of Bill Gates, commenting on his trip to Haiti in 2014 (read the full article here). The place he described is called University Hospital of Mirebalais and, as mentioned above, it was opened by Partners in Health and Haitian government.
The sophisticated system for keeping records is OpenMRS, which served as great help and support in the process of rebuilding and improving the healthcare standards in Haiti. In this article we will introduce you to the case study of OpenMRS’ implementation in the Haitian hospital.
University Hospital of Mirebalais
In 2010 Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake, the biggest since the 18th century. Thousands of people have lost their lives. Country’s infrastructure was not prepared for such a disaster. Many buildings collapsed, leaving Haiti in ruins. Among destroyed buildings there were also hospitals and health clinics. Many injured people were left helpless, without access to medical care.
This enormous tragedy took a heavy toll on Haitian society and battered its economy. In 2013, in order to support rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure, Partners in Health (known locally as Zanmi Lasante) opened a University Hospital in Mirebalais, a small city in the Central Plateau of Haiti. The new hospital had a place for 300 beds and served 1000 outpatient visits per day. Its management and workflow is supported by OpenMRS.
Rebuilding healthcare system in Haiti
OpenMRS allows to record diagnosis, plan treatment and save the data of the patients. All of this information is stored in a digital form. Not only is it convenient, but also protected from eventual disasters, like a flood or an earthquake. Physicians can capture primary care data, such as patient registration, check-in, vital signs, etc., as well as specialistic diagnosis and lab results.
Since its implementation, the system has been upgraded many times, to meet the needs of the local community. Functionalities that were at first available in UHM included:
- Identifying and registering all patients at UHM and Outpatient clinic.
- Point-of-care system for all users, leading to reduced data backlogs, higher quality data and improved access to data for patient care.
- Integration with PACS (Picture Archive and Communication System) so that digital radiology images (especially CAT scans) can be analyzed by radiologists and results reported back to UHM clinicians.
- Point-of-care post-surgery note to capture details of the surgery (team, diagnoses, procedures, medications, and recommendations).
OpenMRS became useful also in other Haitian healthcare facilities supported by Partners in Health. Depending on the capabilities of certain clinics or hospitals, different modules and functionalities are implemented.
If you are interested in more technical specifications, we encourage you to read this case study published on OpenMRS Wiki.
Our mission continues
Partners in Health, as well as OpenMRS, are constantly improving their initiatives in Haiti, collaborating with the Haiti Ministry of Health and other important partners.
University Hospital of Mirebalais is just one link in the big chain of implementations. But every link of this chain is as important as the others, because every implementation brings actual, real help to the people that are in need, making their lives easier.
OpenMRS will continue its support in the process of improving and developing this chain of life-saving solutions.