Free EMR Internationally

In the past I’ve covered a number of different free emr software programs. However, honestly I don’t think I’ve touched the surface of the various free and open source EMR software that are out there on the market.

Today I came across a really interesting article talking about the first release of a free open source emr coming out of the Philippines called FFEHR.

“This is groundbreaking for several reasons: it is free, portable, and open source that even doctors can contribute to its development,” Dr. Alvin Marcelo, manager of the International Open Source Network (IOSN) Asean+3 node based in Manila, in an interview.

I wonder how many other similar EMR and EHR projects are going on in countries around the world? I’d love to hear about them if you are working on one. Also, there’s a small chance that I may begin a job working with mostly people from the Asia Pacific area and so I’ll be very interested in seeing how these open source EMR and EHR projects will affect the developing and developed nations in that area.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • I love the idea of a free and open source EMR without the tainting of ads in an EMR. One thing I’ve approached in healthcare is whenever I suggest anything open source, they automatically discredit it. Even when I throw the idea of Bugzilla out there, people look down on it. It’s like if they’re not paying for it, it must not be good.
    By the way, I love your blog!

  • I agree with you Laura. I’ve seen some of the same things. However, only when talking about the free/open source EMR systems. I haven’t heard that in regard to things like, PDFCreator, Bugzilla, Gimp, or other general open source applications like that. I think those things people don’t see as core and don’t even know that it’s open source that they are using.

    I’m glad you love my blog. I’ve kind of fallen in love with it too. It’s nice to hear that other people appreciate it. I’ve found so many benefits both financial, personal and career that I’m very glad I did it.

  • A quite complete list of FOSS software in healthcare can be found here:

    Regarding your comment on Laura’s comment:
    “However, only when talking about the free/open source EMR systems.”

    I agree on that – and there’s good reason for the people to do so. Because after my research on FOSS EMR systems on the web, I must say, there’s hardly any serious system out there that reaches a level where you would say “Yes, architecture wise and especially GUI wise, it’s a state-of-the-art system that can compete with basic commercial systems.”.
    If you look at the FOSS EMR systems, they’re either old, bad architectured, or, mostly, they have a GUI that looks like 15 years old – all text-oriented and strange color schemas, totally not user-friendly.

    That’s mainly the lack in those OS projects – there are only few developers/nerds, but the team doesn’t have enough human resources to handle all aspects of what makes a good software. It’s not all about code and technology, it’s also about: GUI design, documentation, community building, and last but not least marketing&PR. And I probably missed some aspects here as well…

    (I am an IT consultant and open source enthusiasts in China, and mostly use open source software in my projects, not in healthcare though, but more general projects.)

    BTW: great blog, but somehow I was missing a page where it tells something about the person running that blog. Would be interesting to know.

  • > “This is groundbreaking for several reasons”

    I read the article you linked to on Inquire, but it didn’t reveal too much background information.
    I am wondering, what exactly is the groundbreaking difference compared to all the other OS EMRs out there. The website doesn’t reveal a lot of information.
    Also I must say, I’m not a big fan of announcements of open source projects where the source code is not yet published – there are just too many unfulfilled promises out there on the web; and the articles dates back some months ago.

    > I wonder how many other similar EMR and EHR projects are going on in countries around the world?

    A lot of them are started and later not having the power to be continued. Also, lot of systems lack of configurability and scalability. They’re mostly statically coded where the clinic/business logic is hard coded rather than implemented dynamically.

  • Mathias,
    Some very fine points here. I have to completely agree with you on the user interface. I vaguely remember one open source EMR that had a reasonable interface. I can’t remember off hand which one it was. Otherwise, I think your description is completely accurate. Of course, to me that’s a cost of using Open Source EMR. Often they don’t have the resources in house to do all the design and usability work. However, to be quite frank, there are a lot of commercial EMR systems that haven’t committed the resources needed to make a nice EMR user interface either.

    I love your list of Open Source medical software. I’ll look at linking to it on a future post.

    I should say that the quote of “groundbreaking” wasn’t me, but was me quoting someone else. I imagine in the Philipines this is groundbreaking since it might be the only one happening in that country. As you describe well, many open source projects end up dieing on the vine without amazing project advocates and a strong vibrant developer community surrounding it.

    As far as an about me page for the blog, I think that’s been on the to do list for a while. Maybe it’s about time for me to increase the priority of that page;-)

  • I noticed groundbreaking wasn’t your statement, I left the quotes 😉
    Yes, you’re also right, proprietary systems also have similar old-fashioned GUIs, especially if they have grown over the years.

    Recently I saw a video on youtube about a EMR with Silverlight UI. That looked quite nice… (commercial of course).

    But if you look at that GUI you know what I mean with “state-of-the-art” 😉

  • Hi, I currently work for Kaiser Pemanente in California, USA. We’ve been implementing EHR for the past few years and reaching our project goals. As far as I know, KP will be used as the global model. There is a big debate on HIPAA due to live patient records that will be available outside the US. The system has a few glitches but they are constantly being researched and worked on. This project is in the billion dollars but it is money well spent for the future of healthcare.

  • Mixko,
    No doubt that Kaiser Permanente has made a huge investment in IT and there’s a lot to learn from them. I’m not sure they’ll be the global model, but some of the things they’re doing will be used globally for sure. I just think their system is far too specific to be used globally.

Click here to post a comment