England's NHS looks to U.S. for guidance on 'Open Source' EHR Software

Joseph Conn | Modern Healthcare | July 2, 2013

The National Health Service of England is looking to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for inspiration—and maybe a whole lot more—as it strives to expand on that nation's existing open-source software development programs to meet its health information technology needs.

According to guidance issued to its regional member organizations, called NHS Trusts, the NHS has looked at the potential of the open-source market to deliver value in national health information technology, including reviewing “a number of success stories” already in existence within the NHS. Successful home-grown, open-source developments mentioned have produced a clinical portal, an integration engine and a specialty EHR for ophthalmology.

In addition to its own systems, one of the significant products it investigated is VistA,” according to the NHS report. The VistA system, it said, was created in the 1980s by clinicians and software engineers from the ground up, and “has become renowned across the world.”