Chikitsa: Free Open source Modular EMR/ Clinic Management Solution
Chikitsa is a PHP-based self-hosted open source EMR/ EHR, built for clinics and small hospitals to manage the clinical flow. It was originated from Surat India. It supports extensions, and integrates with many open source solutions as CMS, like Wordpress, and provides SMS integration support for patients.
Appointment management has many tools in Chikitsa as calendar, time-sheets, and reminders, It takes a few seconds to add a new appointment for existing patients. Appointments manager can send notifications as SMS messages to the patient, in case the system admin integrated SMS service with Chikitsa. The patient can take an appointment from external Wordpress website that uses Chikitsa's Appointment plugin which makes it easier to integrate appointments for hospitals and clinics which are using Wordpress.
Patient records management is far easier for doctors, and system admins can limit the accessibility of other user groups to patient records. Patient records manager includes historical events of patients visits as their symptoms, dates of visits, diagnosis, and medications. It has also the patient contact details for easier notification and follow-up.
While the administrator can access everything, Receptionist can't access the patient records, but only patient contact details with notification settings.
Every clinic/ hospital has its own inventory, Chikista has simple but yet powerful inventory manager, with very useful features as monitoring stocks, however, all inventory items has to be added manually, it would be easier to add them in CSV files.
The ability to print a bill or prescription is a core feature in Chikista, but it comes also with customization feature to customize the default template or recreate the new template. Template management is available in the system administration section.
Reporting in Chikitsa is divided into appointments, bills, patients, treatments, and tax reports. Reports can be printed and exported to Ms.Excel files. Though reports manager lakes the charts and visualization tools, as missing report customization tools, it's quite usable with data filtering tools the developer created to select the required data.
Multiple Users groups and permission
The developers have created a usable user management system for Chikitsa, which allow multiple users to be assigned to multiple user groups with multiple permissions. System admins can assign certain functionalities as menu access to a selected user group as secretary user-group to have limited access to patient files.
Admins can easily take a backup with a simple click and import it later, The backup file is a zipped file that contains a MySQL dump file, however, the backup file is not encrypted.
Chikitsa developers have built multiple extensions to extend the system functionality, they provide them in a marketplace. All of the extensions are not expensive, but they can take the game to another level as a custom details extension, which adds more fields to the patient's visit.
There are more useful extensions as medication, medicine store, alerting extension and CSV files import.
If the customer requires more services, Chikitsa's core developers are providing custom services including installation, support and hosting for their system. It's paid services, however, it's not expensive. They are also providing a Pro version of Chikitsa contain more extensions to extend the default functionalities of the free open source version. Though, there are not enough details about international support for other countries, as there have been thousands of downloads for their solution and most likely hundreds of users around the globe. Hopefully, they can add more insights about that on their website.
I have installed Chikitsa locally, on Mac OSX, it was quite simple & easy to install, with the graphical installer, it takes less than a minute to install with Bitnami MAMP . It works smoothly locally, without any issues. It is fast and responsive, though it's not ideal to use it on mobile devices as it will require a great deal of customization to be usable on mobile devices. Chikitsa can be installed on a web hosting with ease, with minimal requirement setup, It can work well on shared hosting like Webfaction, GoDaddy or dedicated like DigitalOcean and AWS.
The best usable feature in Chikitsa EMR is upgrade, It's easy to upgrade as it uses a graphical upgrade manager to upgrade the system without worrying about uploading files, incompatible data-structure or failed upgrades, before upgrading the system, it takes quick clicks to get a downloadable SQL backup of the database, which is easily accessible from the system administration menu.
- There are no shortcuts
- The Menu: It requires few clicks to access the required function, which is time-consuming and not practical
- The current default colours for the user interface are not ideal for daily use.
- Level of customization is limited
- There is no developer documentation
- Responsive but require customization for mobile.
Chikitsa is an ideal open-source solution for clinics, It fulfils the core requirements for small to medium size clinics as well as small hospitals, however, it requires more customization, and it would be great for Chikitsa developers to open the extensions' development for developers and increase the level of customization of the system, If they do we may be looking to the next WordPress-like EMR/ EHR modular open-source solution.
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