More and more Emergency Medical Services organizations are moving to electronic Patient Care Reports, or ePCRs. Many states are specifying state-wide formats, as well. While many commercial vendors have introduced solutions, many of them have problems - mainly, they are cost-prohibitive for small volunteer agencies and agencies with limited budgets, and many of them rely on commercial offsite hosting - therefore they completely fail in a situation where traditional landline-based internet connections are down - the specific time when they are most needed.
OpenEPCR aims to provide the Emergency Medical Services sector with a Free (as in Freedom, a.k.a. Open-Source) Electronic Patient Care Report (EPCR) software solution. Licensed under the GNU GPL, it will be easily extendable by users' organizations. Such a solution does not currently exist. Furthermore, many states and regions are moving to electronic data aggregation for EMS. OpenEPCR aims to provide an easy way for organizations to adopt a standardized data set and submit their data - and only the data that they choose - to a trusted third party. The software will attempt to do all of this while paying heed to applicable standards on privacy and security, as well as being fully platform-independent.
- Provide *all* code licensed under the GNU GPL, and make code as easy as possible to modify and extend.
- Be fully platform-independent and database-independent, running in a platform-independent language.
- Have NO reliance whatsoever on outside services i.e. be able to run in a disaster situation with a full communications breakdown.
- Be designed with internationalization (i18n) and localization in mind, specifically with easy support for translations.
- Have all data set, user information, rights/access management, authentication, and authorization abstracted, allowing organization-specified rules as well as various authentication means (central server, local file, passwords, hardware tokens, OTP, etc.)
- Attempt to conform to HIPPA and other applicable standards governing security and privacy.
- Allow all organizational data such as PCR forms, data sets, printable versions, etc. to operate as pluggable modules; changing the entire PCR structure should be as easy as adding a few new files and running a script.
- Be designed with both the small, volunteer, virtually budget-less squad and the large paid organization in mind.
- Run on a variety of devices including desktops, laptops, and mobile devices of all flavors.
- Operate in environments including standalone, central server, ad-hoc network, and a network of distributed master servers.
- Have the utmost regard to integrity of data - data loss or corruption is NOT an option.
- Support virtually unlimited customization for an end-user organization.
- Be designed with ease of extension in mind - it should be easy for end-user organizations to design custom add-ons that integrate fully, while conforming to the Access Control model.
- Eventually, include support for administrative functions such as equipment/vehicle checks, scheduling, roster functionality, etc.
- Eventually, consider creation of an integrated incident management system for patient, resource, and personnel tracking.
- Be designed with as much space for custom software hooks as possible.
- Attempt to pull together developers from various disciplines and gather suggestions from a vast sampling of the EMS field.
- As time progresses, I would also like to look into integrating an MCI triage package, perhaps a CAD feature, and integration with PHP EMS Tools.