Developing and Sustaining an Open Source Electronic Health Record: Evidence from a Field Study in Japan


Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are at the heart of reforms aimed at improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare services provided to citizens. Although there is still some skepticism, open source (OS) EHR is a growing phenomenon in health informatics. Given the widespread adoption of OS software (OSS) in several domains, including operating systems, and enterprise systems, the repeated shortfalls faced by healthcare organizations with dominant proprietary EHRs create an opportunity for other alternatives, such as OSS to demonstrate their abilities in addressing these well-documented problems, including inflexibility, high costs, and low interoperability. However, scholars have expressed extensive concerns about the sustainability of OS EHR. Recognizing that OSS project sustainability relies on their governance arrangements, this case study reports on the evolution of the governance and sustainability of a Japanese OS EHR project and provides rich insights to other open source EHR initiative stakeholders, including physicians, developers, researchers, and policy-makers.

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(NA) This study was not funded.

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Correspondence to Placide Poba-Nzaou MSc, DBA.

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Poba-Nzaou, P., Kume, N. & Kobayashi, S. Developing and Sustaining an Open Source Electronic Health Record: Evidence from a Field Study in Japan. J Med Syst 44, 159 (2020).

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  • Electronic health records
  • Open source
  • Sustainability
  • Governance
  • Japan