Open Source In The NHS: With Choice Comes Responsibility

Malcolm Senior | | August 18, 2014

...The approach taken by NHS England in launching the Integrated Digital Technology Fund (better known as ‘tech fund two’) is a positive step in that it gives trusts the freedom to be different and make technology work for them. This provides greater opportunities for clinicians to make the IT work for them, rather than change clinical processes as defined by an IT supplier.

At Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust we are taking advantage of the open-source approach, strongly advocated in tech fund two.  This is essentially around deploying an electronic patient record (EPR) – a system that the industry has talked about for many years. But implementations across the NHS have been slow in terms of delivering the highly-anticipated clinical benefits, in addition to nearing a paper-lite or paperless environment.

Lessons learnt from NPfIT suggest that a one-size-fits-all approach for EPRs has its limitations, as every trust made the case, rightly or wrongly, that it was somehow different. This is why we believe that open source provides another way of delivering those clinical benefits, as trusts can take ownership of the code and develop it alongside clinicians to their requirements...