This is a featured collection of the most frequently asked questions regarding the openIMIS software and the openIMIS Initiative. (Click here for more FAQ entries and other knowledge base articles.)

What is openIMIS?

openIMIS is a versatile open source software which supports the administration of health financing and social protection schemes. It is specially designed to manage the complex, high-volume data flows which are required to operate such schemes by seamlessly integrating beneficiary, provider and payer data in a single platform.

Who can use the software?

Anyone can download and use openIMIS for free. Whether you are the operator of a health insurance or cash transfer scheme, a university offering courses in health financing, or a company specialising in the implementation of digital health and social protection programs - you are free to make use of openIMIS and to adapt it to your needs.


How can the software be used?

openIMIS was originally developed to facilitate the administration of social health insurance schemes for people in the informal sector in low- and lower-middle income countries. It has subsequently been modified for use in administering health insurance schemes focused on the formal sector, employment injury insurance schemes, cash transfers and voucher schemes. However, the use of the software is not limited to these general use cases! Feel free to explore the software and try out new implementation scenarios.


Is openIMIS free?

The openIMIS software, including the source code, is free. It can be freely downloaded without restrictions. When implementing openIMIS, you will incur costs for deploying the software (e.g. server costs) and for required hardware (e.g. at health facilities and the scheme operator). In addition, there will be costs for implementation and roll-out of the software (e.g. user training) and regular maintenance of the installation.

What is an implementer?

Implementers are organizations which support scheme operators to install and use openIMIS. They can help to transfer business processes as part of software customization, provide training on use of openIMIS and support the maintenance of the system once it is operational.

What is a scheme operator?

A scheme operator is an agency or institution which uses openIMIS to administer a health financing or social protection scheme. Typical scheme operators include regional or national health funds, a ministry of health or social welfare, a national health insurance board, or a government agency tasked with implementing a cash transfer program.

How much does it cost to implement openIMIS?

First things first: as an open source software, openIMIS is completely free of charge. You can simply download and use it. There are no license costs attached to it, no matter what the use case is. However, costs will arise for the implementation of openIMIS in your organization. These depend on a variety of factors, including the specifics of your organization and use case.


What are the additional costs to consider when using openIMIS?

Some examples of additional costs to consider when using openIMIS are given below. The extent of these additional costs will very much depend on the size and scale of the implementation. Examples of cost drivers are:

  • Customization costs

  • Server hosting costs

  • Costs for computer hardware

  • Internet Connection

  • User training

(read more here …)


Where is my data collected?

As you implement openIMIS, you will need to install and host the software on either a virtual or physical server. This server(s) is where your data will be stored. You have full control over who has access to the data.

Is my data safe?

Yes. We take care to ensure that the openIMIS software is free of security-related issues and that all required measures to ensure the safety of data are in place. However, there is an added layer of security that you are responsible for during implementation. As you implement openIMIS, you will need to install and host the software on either a virtual or physical server. You should ensure that the server you choose to host openIMIS on has the required security measures in place.

In terms of access to data, the openIMIS initiative will never have access to any data from your implementation of openIMIS.

(read more on securing your installation …)


Can the software be re-sold?

Yes. You can package and re-distribute the software according to the license agreement.

GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL-3) explicitly allows to convey verbatim copies of the software commercially:

You may charge any price or no price for each copy that you convey, and you may offer support or warranty protection for a fee. (AGPL-3, §5)

However, you should be aware of the other statements in the license agreement, especially when distributing modified source versions. AGPL-3 has an in-built copy-left clause. This means that you need to distribute your version under the same license. Also, you are expected to feed back modifications of your distribution to the openIMIS project, even if you offer openIMIS as a Software as a Service (SaaS) using your own server.

Of course we would appreciate being in touch with you when you plan to redistribute the software. This will be of benefit to you and the openIMIS community.