Looking at a tiny space inside a 1,700-bed hospital in Ghana, West Africa, Weber State University computer science professor Richard Fry got an idea.

Motivated by the sight of that dilapidated medical records room — with its sagging ceiling and stacks of disorganized folders crammed with crinkled papers — Fry launched a study abroad program to build an electronic medical records-keeping system for the hospital. To date, Fry’s students have helped medical staff transition more than 4,000 patient records to the new system.

“The benefits of the project are many. WSU students are gaining first-hand experience working on a long-term software engineering project, and the hospital in Ghana has hired 15 new information technology staff positions to support this initiative, allowing the Ghanaians to maintain and enhance their own electronic medical records software.”