Implementing electronic medical record systems in developing countries

Inform Prim Care. 2005;13(2):83-95. doi: 10.14236/jhi.v13i2.585.


The developing world faces a series of health crises including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis that threaten the lives of millions of people. Lack of infrastructure and trained, experienced staff are considered important barriers to scaling up treatment for these diseases. In this paper we explain why information systems are important in many healthcare projects in the developing world. We discuss pilot projects demonstrating that such systems are possible and can expand to manage hundreds of thousands of patients. We also pass on the most important practical lessons in design and implementation from our experience in doing this work. Finally, we discuss the importance of collaboration between projects in the development of electronic medical record systems rather than reinventing systems in isolation, and the use of open standards and open source software.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Security
  • Confidentiality
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Developing Countries*
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / organization & administration*
  • Pilot Projects