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OpenELIS logo.jpg
Developer(s) University of Washington
Initial release Expression error: Unrecognized word "dd"., YYYY (YYYY-MM-DD)[1]
Stable release

9.1  (May 17, 2019; 18 months ago (2019-05-17))

Preview release none [±]
Written in Java
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Laboratory informatics software
License(s) Mozilla Public License 1.1

OpenELIS is a free and open-source laboratory information system (LIS) currently being developed by a team at the University of Washington.

Product history

The OpenELIS project evolved out of a partnership between the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) in late 2002, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.[2][3] The members of the collaboration were tasked with a "ground-up" effort to develop business processes and system requirements for laboratory informatics systems in the realm of public health.[3][4] This work — together with six U.S. states — eventually led to the 2003 publication of a specifications document called Requirements for Public Health Laboratory Information Management Systems, which detailed "all functions that a public health laboratory information system must be capable of supporting."[3][5]

After the publication of this document representatives from three of the involved six states — Minnesota, Iowa, and Kansas — expressed interest in putting the ideas in the Requirements document into action in the form of an open-source LIMS system. From this desire another collaborative effort occurred to make such software a reality in the form of the Open Electronic Laboratory Information System or OpenELIS. Kansas eventually had to drop out of the project, but Minnesota and Iowa continued on with development in 2004, all while the APHL and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased interest in the project through their humanitarian work in parts of Africa and Vietnam.[4] However, as development on the software had been mostly U.S.-centric, an adaptation had to be developed, including language translations and regional addressing. Inevitably, this turned into its own independent branch of the software, including development by local Vietnamese, making the software truly international. Meanwhile domestic development continued in Minnesota and Iowa, with Minnesota's code base sharing similarities with Vietnam's, while Iowa was branching out with its own slightly-modified version.[4]

By early-2008 the Minnesota State Public Health Laboratory was testing its implementation of OpenLIMS, while Vietnam began testing theirs in February at the District Four Health Center in Ho Chi Minh City and the National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.[2][6] The Vietnam branch in particular was seen by the APHL as "a rare opportunity to learn from the mistakes we've made with laboratory information systems domestically and to implement them right the first time in these other countries."[6]

In April 2008, the OpenELIS team reached out to the members and collaborators (including the University of Washington) of the OpenMRS open-source project[7], a project dedicated to supporting the delivery of health care in developing countries.[8] Weeks of discussions led to an agreement to create an OpenELIS developer community as well as a potential connecting of OpenELIS with OpenMRS.[7]

At roughly the same time as OpenELIS was being developed, a different collaboration was occurring in Haiti between the University of Washington's Clinical Informatics Research Group, headed by Dr. Bill Lober, and the University of California, San Francisco. Known as the International Training and Education Center on HIV (I-TECH), this team worked with yet another group called the Clinical Informatics Research Group (CIRG) to improve the electronic medical record systems of Haiti. Through their involvement with OpenMRS collaboration, the University of Washington's Clinical Informatics Research Group learned of OpenELIS and thought it ideal for implementing in clinical labs throughout Haiti, including the Haiti National Lab.[9]

By June 2008, work was beginning on a new branch of the OpenELIS software for Haiti, specifically as a branch of the version implemented in Vietnam,[10] though by November a conversion to the Minnesota/Iowa code base was completed "to take advantage of any updates" those development teams made.[11] The seeds for a similar effort were planted in Côte d'Ivoire the following month.[12] That same month a SourceForge beta project for OpenELIS was started.[13].

In 2009 and 2010 the University of Washington group continued improving its Haiti branch of the software, demoing it on the University servers as upgrades were being made. In March 2009 the team demonstrated the Minnesota/Iowa and Haiti versions of the OpenELIS software to Joshua Franklin of the University of Washington Biomedical Informatics Core of the Institute of Translational Health Sciences, evaluating it as a potentially useful LIS.[14] As pilot implementations of OpenELIS 1.1 were being installed in Haitian labs, work also continued on the software in Côte d'Ivoire. On October 19, 2010, version 1.0 of the Côte d'Ivoire branch (referred to as "Retro-CI" for the location of its installation, the CDC Retrovirus Cote d′Ivoire [CDC Retro-CI]) of OpenELIS was installed in the country.[15]

2011 brought many changes to OpenELIS. In February 2011 an improved version 1.2 was implemented in Haiti, with a planned expanded version (dubbed as LNSP) of the software to be released to national public health reference laboratories in March.[16] On July 18, 2011, a new 2.0 version of Côte d'Ivoire's branch of OpenELIS was release, featuring a new menu system, better patient demographics handling, and additional bug fixes.[17]


Hardware/software requirements

Videos, screenshots, and other media

Entities using LAMA

Further reading

External links


  1. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "OpenELIS comes home". Lab Link (State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa) 4 (1). January 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wood, James (February 2009). "Public Health Informatics Institute - Grant Results Reports". Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jones, Jay (2008). "OpenELIS: How a small lab community created a world-wide database" (PDF). PHINews (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 2 (4): 6–9. 
  5. "Requirements for Public Health Laboratory Information Management Systems". Association of Public Health Laboratories. September 2003. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rogers, Karen (Spring 2008). "Realizing the APHL Vision Around the Globe". Association of Public Health Laboratories. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Blaya, Joaquin (27 April 2008). "Collaboration with OpenELIS, an open source lab information system". Partners In Health Informatics Team. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  8. Mamlin, Burke W.; Paul G. Biondich; Ben A. Wolfe; Hamish Fraser; Darius Jazayeri; Christian Allen; Justin Miranda; William M. Tierney (2006). "Cooking up an open source EMR for developing countries: OpenMRS - a recipe for successful collaboration". AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings: 529–33. PMC 1839638. PMID 17238397. 
  9. "2008 May - OpenELIS Implementation in Haiti". Clinical Informatics Research Group at the University of Washington. May 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  10. Schwartz, Paul (4 June 2008). "Version Genealogy". Clinical Informatics Research Group at the University of Washington. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  11. Lober, Bill (8 December 2008). "Status Reports for last 4 weeks (from Paul)". Clinical Informatics Research Group at the University of Washington. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  12. Lober, Bill (8 December 2008). "Off to Cote d’Ivoire". Clinical Informatics Research Group at the University of Washington. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  13. "OpenELIS - Laboratory Information System". SourceForge. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  14. Schwartz, Paul (9 March 2009). "HaitiOpenElis status report for week ending 06/03/2009". Clinical Informatics Research Group at the University of Washington. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  15. Nixon, Laura (19 October 2010). "Training and Installation at RetroCI". Clinical Informatics Research Group at the University of Washington. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  16. "Health Informatics in Haiti: Improving Access to Data Improves Care". University of Washington I-TECH date=March 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  17. Schwartz, Paul (9 March 2009). "HaitiOpenElis status report for week ending 06/03/2009". Clinical Informatics Research Group at the University of Washington. Retrieved 27 April 2012.