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Global Open Source HIT Project Gets $1M Donation From Cryptocurrency Philanthropy

January 19, 2018
by David Raths
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Anonymous donor behind Pineapple Fund has contributed software patches to OpenMRS

OpenMRS, Inc., an open source medical records platform used in developing countries, has received a $1 million donation from the Pineapple Fund, an $86 million cryptocurrency philanthropy created by an anonymous donor known only as “Pine.”

Now in its 14th year, OpenMRS is being used in countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Haiti, India, China, the United States, Pakistan, and many other places. This work is supported in part by many organizations including international and government aid groups, as well as for-profit and nonprofit corporations.

The Open Medical Record System (OpenMRS) is a multi-institution, nonprofit collaborative led by the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute and Partners In Health, a Boston-based philanthropic organization with a focus on improving the lives of underprivileged people worldwide through health care service and advocacy. These teams work with a growing worldwide network of individuals and organizations focused on creating medical record systems and a corresponding implementation network to allow system development self-reliance within resource-constrained environments.

In a blog post on the OpenMRS web site, Regenstrief’s Paul Biondich, M.D., M.S., co-founder and project lead of OpenMRS, wrote that “the most gratifying part of this amazing news, was learning that “Pine,” the anonymous donor behind this $86 million dollar cryptocurrency philanthropy, has contributed software patches to OpenMRS in the past!  This person had contributed time to the community, and had a firsthand understanding of what we are trying to accomplish.  This growing community and our approach to open source health record software was the primary motivation for the donation.  If that is not validation to all of the hard work we do to ensure that new contributors from all walks of life are welcome and productive, I don’t know what is!”

His Regenstrief bio notes that beyone his work on OpenMRS, Dr. Biondich is very active in international health information architecture development efforts, both through his leadership of a WHO Collaborating Centre in Medical Informatics, and in the formation of a new adaptive technical assistance community that supports national planning and implementation of health information sharing architectures (OpenHIE).

 

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