Top 10 Open source & free HIS (Hospital Information systems) and EHR solutions

Top 10 Open source & free HIS (Hospital Information systems) and EHR solutions

Note: This article is an Evergreen article. It will receive continues update about the listed applications. You can save it and return to it as a updated resource.

HIS stands for Hospital Information System which is integrated solution designed to manage all the hospital's operations including medical operations, clinical workflow , financial , administrative, human resources, documents, legal and inventory. HIS is basically built to manage everything in the hospital and built for every user with active role in hospital operations as managers, doctors, staff nurses, accountants, pharmacists, lab technicians.

Some open source ERPs (Enterprise resource planning ) started to target hospitals with customized modular applications, but not all of them are equal, you may read about that in our review: 7 Most hospital ready open-source ERP solutions.

The main aim is to ease the workflow of the connected and  intersected processes that involve different parties. However it's not just about managing but it's about reporting.

Free Open source ( FOSS ) or Proprietary commercial solutions?

One of the most active roamers about open source solutions and software that it comes without support, however that is not accurate as many open source project/ software are packed by developers and powerful community of advanced users. Another misconception about open source it's not totally free, well revenue models of open source solution is quite different than the commercial ones, some of open source provide the solution/ software for free but there is always extra fee for implementation, custom development, configuration and so on. However the user can get those services from the community, or buying a developers to customize it's modules on top of the free open source code.

Basic features required  in HIS

  • Patient admissions
  • Appointment management
  • Patient records management
  • Inpatient management
  • Laboratory management
  • Pharmacy management
  • Accounting and Financial management
  • Ward management
  • Human resources management

What Hospital Information System should has?

  • Powerful security layers

There are different user groups will access the system as doctors, nurses, employee, managers , laboratory  technicians , accountants, secretary  every group has its own rules and modules to work on Users permissions should be granted by the system admins. Most of the solutions are built as Server/ Client-based solution to give the opportunity to access from multiple different devices by multiple users, departments and locations. The central server should be maintained and secured from access from unauthorized personal as well as protected from illegal activities and access.

  • Logging system

System admins should have access to all events log in their system including user activities, login events, data access etc.

  • Reporting

Reporting is a necessity in HIS, Usable HIS should has a reporting tools supported by visual presentations in down-able usable formats

  • Import/ Export tools for data

Importing and exporting data is a crucial tool any should have to allow importing data from CSV/ Excel files into the system as well as exporting them for backup purposes as well as to be used or viewed in other software as MS Excel.

  • Backup

"System without backup is unusable system", It takes few seconds  with computer glitch or human errors to lose all the data, HIS should provide the necessary tools to back up and maintain the data. Especially patients records  and lab records in secure form.

Challenges and concerns in open source HIS

  • Implementation

Implementation is not easy even for Proprietary commercial solutions, however as the commercial one has teamed to implement, the most successful open source HIS solution has powerful community worldwide to implement thanks to rich powerful documentation provided by the core developers, any developer with primary  knowledge of the development stack and production environment can install  it easily.

Example of successful implementations :

- Bhamni , Open hospital, Hospital OS

  • Support

Open-source solutions are often packed by a powerful community of developers and advanced users as we mention before, so they provide active feedback for the core developers usually to improve the system with new feature and maintain it. However, local support from local developers are much appreciated which is hard to find.

  • Upgrades

Upgrades in open source are necessity not a luxury also mainly they are free not commercial as many commercial enterprise solutions do, as the feedback cycle is active from the supported  community and as there is active users there are upgrades  released to empower the solution.

Why  open-source ERPs " Enterprise resource planning " solutions are the perfect fit for build hospital solutions on top of them?

  • Modularity : They built to be modular and to extend the features based on the customer requirements. As  long the ERP is extendable and flexible it's successful.
  • Basic module exists and battle tested : They  already have the basic modules required battle tested and ready :  accounting, inventory and human resources alongside reporting
  • Support : Open-source ERPs  are often backed by huge community of developers, users and implementers.
  • Battle tested  with enterprise customers. Many open-source ERP already has enterprise  customers though mainly are not in healthcare, but they provide enough  feedback to empower and strengthen up the ERP basic modules as accounting,  and inventory

Examples of Open-source ERP with huge impact in healthcare industry :

  • Odoo ERP/ CRM has many modules built by community developers as HIS solution begin, mainly they are commercial extensions as they being sold and the Odoo marketplace, but that's prove Odoo is a perfect candidate for ERP based HIS.
  • ERPNext
  • DoliMed EMR

Top  open-source  HIS - Hospital Information System solutions

1- Bahmni

We place Bahmni on top of the list because of its active development cycle and successful implementations in several countries.  Bahmni has been powered by powerful community including the implementers and several companies providing enterprise grade implementation  and development services over it.

Bahmni Open source HIS

Platforms : Server is based on CentosOS Linux distro. Clients run on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX so as iPhone and Android phones.


2- Open Hospital

Open Hospital is an open source HIS Hospital Information system from Italy to the world, it has been implemented first in St. Luke's Hospital in Uganda. Its has multi-lingual support , Open Hospital HIS has been installed on 23 hospitals in 13 countries so far, It has been installed in several countries at Africa, Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Italy and Greece.    

OpenHospital New Patient registration 

Open Hospital HIS is easy to install and use which will cut the training, implementation time.

Features of Open Hospital

  • Multi-lingual support
  • Multi-user groups and permissions
  • EMR
  • PACS integration ready
  • DICOM viewer
  • Inpatient and ward management
  • Outpatient management
  • Laboratory management
  • Rich reporting tools
  • Accounting and Bill management
  • Pharmacy management
  • Specific modules for pregnancy, vaccination, Therapy followup and Malnutrition control management
  • Internal chat  module for the system users
  • SMS patient's reminder

Platforms : Linux, Windows and macOS

Development status : Active


3- HospitalRun: offline first hospital information system

HospitalRun Patient Management 

HospitalRun is an open source HIS solution built to serve rural and poor areas, HospitalRun has been built over offline first concept to allow the system to run while there is no connection utilising new web development concept which is not seen yet in most of the open source HIS. HospitalRun has been in active development since its first release. It provides a rich developer documentation for developer and implementers to install it, use it and start developing over it. For more information we have wrote an quick review about HospitalRun few months back here.

Features of HospitalRun

  • Battle tested clinical workflow
  • Patient record management
  • Pharmacy management
  • Laboratory management
  • Medical Imagining management and integration with the existing systems
  • Medication management
  • Billing management

We have snap review at HospitalRun here


4- GNU Health

GNU Health - src

GNU Health has been released years ago, as full-featured EHR, with focus on more than the clinical workflow as it holds diseases database, Genetic library,  Socio-economics parameters as ( housing conditions, substance abuse, education ), Diseases and Medical procedures standards (ICD-10 / ICD-10-PCS).

Features  of GNU Health

  • Patient records management
  • Patient administration management
  • Laboratory management
  • Doctor and Staff management
  • Stock management
  • Accounting and finance management

Development status : Active

GNU Health website


5- Care2x

Care2x 

Care2x is PHP based Hospital Information system, It features complete clinical flow management, laboratory management, patient records, multi-user support with permissions, stock management and accounting and billing management, PACS  integration and DICOM viewer. Though Care2x has not been updated since 2015, it's still begun download and used worldwide. Care2x provides some other features as CCTV integration which has not been seen in other open source HIS.

Care2x has been built to solve the problem of a real-life actual large hospital that has different laboratories and serving thousands of patients with a dozen of departments. Care2x has been using outdated technologies ( for me at least ) and It has not been updated for years, but it's still a very large project and worth mention in this list.

Care2x development stack is PHP which require Apache installation of Nginx server to be used as a server

Development status : No update since 2015

Care2x website, Care2x download page


6 - HospitalOS

HospitalOS - src

HospitalOS is an open source hospital information system from Thailand, It was built to be installed in the small hospitals in the rural area in Thailand. It uses Java and PostgreSQL. HospitalOS has been around for years, It's full featured HIS Hospital Information system yet it has not been supported or extended beyond Thailand. which is unfortunate for open source community so far.

  • Platforms :Preferred Server  : Linux.  Clients Running on Windows, Linux and MacOSX.
  • Development Status : Active

Website, Hospital OS Download


7- ERPNext based HIS - Review

SmarteCare : ERPNext based HIS now as ERPNext Health 

ERPNext is the next-generation open-source enterprise grade ERP, It features financial management, HR management, communication tools including chat, emails, accounting and billing management, inventory management. ERPNext lead team has an eye on the healthcare industry as it joined the active modules of its child SmarteHIS into the parent project which includes Patient management, clinical flow management, Laboratory management, Pharmacy management, Inpatient/ ward management  fully integrated with the current basic ERP modules of ERPNext.

Though ERPNext does not have a full marketplace now for community developed modules yet, but it's effortless to install and use it as HIS. It's also developer friendly as it has production-ready development tool to build apps and modules over it with ease for experienced developer. You may want to read our full review on it.

  • Platforms : Server Linux, Client : browser, mobile apps.
  • Development status : Active
  • ERPNext Website

8 - ElixirAid HIS

ElixirAid HIS

ElixirAid is an easy to install web based HIS, It has been built to manage hospitals with different building blocks and many departments. It focuses on easing the workflow for hospitals, with patient management modules for inpatient/ outpatient, Laboratory management, Pharmacy management, Medical staff management, and full patient portal module allowing the patient to access his records, take an appointment, Though the patient portal is superb idea, yet I believe it's incomplete.

ElixirAid HIS has effortless to use user-interface, and functional modules to handle the appointments, patients registration and staff management however it seems to add more management tools to add hospital blocks/ buildings and floor for easy management.

ElixirAid is providing a premium version which seems to be different than the open-source one. There is no use-case for the open-source version

ElixirAid is written in PHP using YII Framework, It has not been updated since 2016, however it's usable as I see for small hospitals. Even though it lacks the developers documentation and the new PHP versions upgrades. There are no notes about if the current version which is release at 2016 will be compatible with the new release of YII framework and the new PHP version, but we are planning to try it out soon and update this post so keep tuned.

  • Platforms : Server : Preferred Linux Server, Clients : web browser, Mobile browsers as ElixirAid is providing responsive design
  • Development status : Last update was at September 2016, Current status Unknown
  • ElixirAID Website, Download

9- OpenEMR

OpenEMR
OpenEMR

OpenEMR is a full featured and quite old EMR " Electronic Medical Record " open-source solution, Some may see it has not to be on this list, but i believe otherwise as It has full control managing the patient flow as well as accounting and finance. It has Patient portal, DICOM viewer, Multi-users group and permissions, reporting tools, and Database management module.

OpenEMR is backed by a powerful community of experienced developers and users, and It has developer documentation about the database structure, file structure for developers to extend and integrate their apps or other open-source solutions into it. Currently, OpenEMR API is in development.  

We have reviewed OpenEMR covering most of it's features here.

  • Platform : Server, Client: browser, mobile browsers
  • Development status : active
  • OpenEMR website .

10 - Odoo ERP and HIS modules

Odoo is open-source enterprise grade ERP " Enterprise resource planning " solution. It has many modules' production ready and well tested with enterprise clients/ customers worldwide. As accounting module, PoS services, inventory management. Odoo has a powerful community of developers, and It's preferred by hundreds of companies around the world to develop their apps/ modules on top of it.

The last couple of years Odoo apps marketplace has received dozens of medical/ healthcare apps including EMR Electronic Medical Records , LIMS Laboratory Information Management Systems" and HIS. We have written review about some of those modules and Odoo ERP impact in healthcare industry. You may read it here.

Note: Almost all of the HIS modules for Odoo are commercial sold in the Odoo Marketplace

  • Platform : Server Linux, Client : Browser, Mobile Browser and Mobile apps
  • Development Status : Active

Odoo website. Odoo Healthcare and HIS Modules.


11- Ispirithalaya Hospital Management System (HIS)

Ispirithalaya is a PHP-MySQL based hospital information system, It's released as an open-source project.

Note : Don't hesitate to share your experience with open source HIS.


Read also:

- Advertisement -
Hamza Mu

Written by Hamza Mu

A physician with programming skills, Linux user since late 1990s, Open-source supporter. Created several medical products EMR/ DICOM and more.
You've successfully subscribed to MeDEVEL.com
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Unable to sign you in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.