NHS Hack Day brings open source to UK Health Service

DJ Walker-Morgan | The H (h-online.com) | May 31, 2012

The first NHS Hack Day has highlighted applications which could help the UK's National Health Service provide better, more customisable services for people. The event was won by a group who developed an electronic patient task list for doctors...

The organiser of the NHS Hack Day 2012, Dr Carl Reynolds, said that the "weekend has been about geeks who love the NHS and clinicians who have given up a weekend of their own time, which has been truly amazing" and that he wanted to "call out to the people who make decisions in the NHS procurement process to look at this model and the power of what the smaller guys can achieve and the power of openness in the model"...

Open Health News' Take: 

This event is part of an emerging movement in the UK to push Britain's National Health Service (NHS) to adopt an open source strategy. We have some additional details on the open health movement in Britain in this post. The previous NHS strategy of "Best-of-Breed," Commercial Off the Shelf Technology (COTS) led to a spectacular $19 billion failure.

From the beginning NHS could have adopted the VA's VistA. Over the past 20 years, NHS sent multiple delegations to the VA to study VistA. Had they followed the VA model, NHS would have had a fully functinoal national EHR system over a decade ago for a small fraction of what what spent in their spectacular failure. The VA is continuing with their success by embracing an open source strategy, as outlined in this article: VA To Invest Billions in Open Source Transition. The British government, which is nearly bankrupt, could leverage the investment that the VA is making. 

This first NHS Hack Days was so successful that additional Hack Days are being organised for Liverpool and Oxford. In addition, Britain's VistA advocates will be gathering at the Nuffield Trust in London on July 5th for a seminar titled: Sharing international experience: Is implementing the VA's electronic health record system an option for the NHS? Roger A. Maduro, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.