A Pilot Site for NHS VistA in the UK

Ewan Davis | Woodcote Consulting | July 14, 2013

Moving the open source agenda require that NHS Trust submit Expressions of Interests (EoI) for open source projects under NHS England’s £260 million Technology Fund  by the deadline on 31th July. Over recent weeks I’ve been persuaded that there would be real value for the patients, the NHS and the UK health informatics industry in the creation of a UK version of an open-source EHR, and VistA would be a good place to start.

This represents something of a volte-face for me and I’ve spent the weekend breakfasting on my diminishing collection of headgear.  The reason for this change are explained, at length, elsewhere on this blog and I summarise them briefly below, but first I want to cut to the main reason for this piece – Identifying some NHS Trust or Trusts willing to make an Expression of Interest (EoI)  by the deadline on 31th July.

NHS England’s publicity around the fund have made it very clear that they would welcome a bids based on open-source in general and VistA in particular, but they rightly understand that the strength of a VistA development lies in its’ ability to drive clinical engagement from the grassroots – as it has demonstrated in a number of US and overseas implementations and it’s willingness to drive this forward will depend on Trusts coming forward NOW with appropriate EoI’s...

Open Health News' Take: 

Excellent article. Open source Electronic Health Record (EHR) solutions like VistA, RPMS, OpenEMR, OpenMRS, etc.are definately viable alternatives that deserve further exploration. There are also many other other high quality open source health IT solutions for public health, PHR, HIE, research, disaster management, etc. that may also be useful to the NHS - see OHN Resource Knowledgebase. One thing I've noticed as other countries have started to use VistA (e.g. India, Jordan, Mexico) is that they install the 'core' software, then hire consultants to train staff in their country, and finally produce a derivative version of VistA that meets the unique needs of their countries. This also has the added benefit of being a job creator for their economy.  -  Peter Groen, Senior Editor, OHN