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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Mar-Apr;21(2):280-4. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2013-001671. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

The use of open source electronic health records within the federal safety net.

Author information

1
Clinovations, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To conduct a federally funded study that examines the acquisition, implementation and operation of open source electronic health records (EHR) within safety net medical settings, such as federally qualified health centers (FQHC).

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

The study was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago from April to September 2010. The NORC team undertook a comprehensive environmental scan, including a literature review, a dozen key informant interviews using a semistructured protocol, and a series of site visits to West Virginia, California and Arizona FQHC that were currently using an open source EHR.

RESULTS:

Five of the six sites that were chosen as part of the study found a number of advantages in the use of their open source EHR system, such as utilizing a large community of users and developers to modify their EHR to fit the needs of their provider and patient communities, and lower acquisition and implementation costs as compared to a commercial system.

DISCUSSION:

Despite these advantages, many of the informants and site visit participants felt that widespread dissemination and use of open source was restrained due to a negative connotation regarding this type of software. In addition, a number of participants stated that there is a necessary level of technical acumen needed within the FQHC to make an open source EHR effective.

CONCLUSIONS:

An open source EHR provides advantages for FQHC that have limited resources to acquire and implement an EHR, but additional study is needed to evaluate its overall effectiveness.

KEYWORDS:

electronic health record; federally qualified health centers; open source; safety net providers; uninsured

PMID:
23744787
PMCID:
PMC3932452
DOI:
10.1136/amiajnl-2013-001671
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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