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Taunton and Somerset NHS goes live with open-source electronic patient records

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust the first to go live with the openMAXIMS open-source electronic patient record system (EPR) in a landmark deal

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has become the first NHS trust to go live with the openMAXIMS electronic patient record system (EPR).

Taunton and Somerset NHS signed up to take the system in a 2014 landmark deal , which saw the trust become the first acute institution to implement an open-source EPR system as IMS MAXIMS committed to making its products open-source.

It went live with the EPR last week across A&E, theatres, outpatients and 30 wards. The implementation covers a range of modules, including a patient administration system, case note tracking, theatre management and anaesthetic record keeping, and real-time bed management. 

Taunton previously used the Cerner Millennium system which it received as part of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT). As the Cerner contract was due to expire in October 2015, the trust had originally intended to go live with the system in May – but pushed back the date to ensure it was ready for the switchover.

The trust undertook an extensive training programme for 2,500 staff members. Chris Swinbuurn, clinical lead for the EPR project, said clinicians had been involved right from the start, "from influencing the procurement of the software, right through to the design of the system to suit our clinical needs and processes”.

“Following the go-live, we believe we have developed a robust EPR system that can be replicated in other hospitals. This can deliver wide-reaching benefits across the NHS.”

Proprietary suite goes open-source

IMS MAXIMS first decided to make its then-proprietary product suite open-source in early 2014. Originally, the company planned to only make open-source its patient administration system module, but decided to go “all out” and in June 2014, when it released the code on Githhub.

Earlier in 2015, the NHS open-source movement launched an openMAXIMS community interest company (CIC) to guide the development of an open-source EPR for the NHS. The CIC will act as a custodian for the openMAXIMS product.

NHS England praised the move and Richard Jefferson, NHS England’s head of programme commissioning, said the go-live was a landmark moment in the use of open-source software in the NHS. "It validates the idea that open source can play a significant role alongside proprietary offerings,” said Jefferson.

In September 2015, a second trust – Wye Valley NHS Trust – signed up to take the system. Wye Valley NHS aims to go live with the system by the end of 2016, when the contract for the trust’s iPM patient administration system – which it received as part of the NPfIT programme – expires.

Read more about open source in the NHS

  • What NHS trusts need to consider when going for open source.
  • Wye Valley signs up for an open-source EPR.

Read more on Healthcare and NHS IT