Integrated eHR Open Source Portal

Centric designed and developed a high-performance HR portal using open source technologies.

The Business Need

A regional Health Care Provider establishes and manages employer-sponsored, on-site clinics, providing primary care services to employees and their dependents. The Provider’s management realized they needed a better Electronic Health Record (eHR) system because:

  • The current vendor-provided eHR system’s cost increased as the number of managed records increased. A less expensive solution was needed.
  • The existing system was not HIPAA compliant (transmitted data was not always encrypted).
  • The Provider’s executives knew there was a major opportunity to differentiate their care clinics by tracking the overall health trends of the employees served. Demonstrating decreasing cost trends around health care was critically needed to empower them to negotiate better overall rates with insurers. Unfortunately, the existing system did not capture the data needed to make such an analysis possible.
  • The existing system was not well liked by users because of un-intuitive workflows and the need to enter too much text data.

Centric’s High-Impact Approach

Centric was engaged to define the new application’s software architecture, evaluate buy versus build alternatives, select packages and design and build the new system. The following were key business requirements of the project:

  • Personalization based on worker roles was critical given that doctors, nurses, and administrators would make heavy use of the new system.
  • The user interface for the system needed to be 100 percent browser-based to deliver the application in a Software as a Service (SaaS) manner to newly-opened clinics.
  • The rate of change in the medical industry is heavy with the need to support evolving data transfer standards (HL7), privacy regulations (HIPAA) and changing care protocols.
  • Continual development of the new system would be a constant – an open, modern, development environment and software architecture was a must.

Centric’s Software Architects selected three open-source applications to deliver the needed functionality. Liferay would provide the core portal infrastructure. Tolven’s application would provide the Electronic Health Record (eHR) functionality. Select processing of entered and imported patient data would be accomplished via the Drools rules engine. As patient information is collected, the Drools rules engine is used to extract data into a health care trend data warehouse allowing for the analytics needed to demonstrate increasing employee health over time.


The new eHR system’s underlying software architecture has provided the Health Care Provider with an environment that allows for efficient extension of the application, as business needs mandate. A few highlighted results of the portal implementation include:

  • The new portal contains wizard-driven patient information entry panels, allowing for easy entry of patient care data by medical staff.
  • The cost of ownership of the new system is low and is not depended on the volume of patient data entered or number of users.
  • The system is well liked by the users due to its consistent user interface and ease of data entry.