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EMR in Africa and Beyond Commentary 

EMR in Africa and Beyond

The US market for hospital EMR systems has primarily been driven by the 36 billion dollars of the HITECH meaningful use program but what is going to drive the transformation from paper to full EMRs in the developing world? The answer is simple, Return on Investment (ROI). Actually, the US market would have been a lot better off if it had been driven by ROI and not taxpayer money, because hospital executives would have made more sustainable choices.

To attain ROI in the developing world means that EMR systems will have to be CTP (cheaper than paper). Those of us who have experienced the US market will find it hard to believe that an EMR can be cheaper than paper, especially where wages are so low that pushing paper around does not cost much.

Will the Epics, Cerners, and Meditechs of the world jump into these markets? Not too likely as their products and services sell at a premium, are expensive to implement, and run on costly hardware. It will take an innovative approach to get buy-in from developing world hospitals and at least one company, EHRI in Sebastopol, California is marching down that road.

HarmoniMD, EHRI’s hospital EMR, is designed to be CTP (cheaper than paper) according to Nick Smith, Founder and CEO. To accomplish this, the system is built to run on inexpensive mobile devices like the 7” Lenovo tablet, can be run as a cloud- hosted or local system, and is provided as Software As A Service (SAAS) based on the hospital volume of patient visits.

To accommodate physicians who need access to patient information from outside the hospital facility, HarmoniMD runs on cell phones over the cell network. This is critical for the developing world where internet connections on land lines are not as reliable as the cell networks.

Nick is quoted as saying, ‘We traveled to many countries and visited a lot of hospitals to understand how to build a system that could meet their needs. HarmoniMD is the culmination of five years of work and is ready for prime time. We know that we can add bottom line results for pretty much any hospital in the world while giving them a fully featured EMR.’

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