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NHS eye hospital embiggens in-house open source system

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Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has said that it has added three new modules for prescribing, operations notes and correspondence to OpenEyes, its open source e-patient record system.

OpenEyes was developed by an in-house team, led by consultant surgeon and former medical director at Moorfields, Bill Aylward. He told Government Computing that the trust needed to replace its existing e-patient record system and decided to develop new software itself because of the lack of a suitable commercial system.

He also said that Moorfields was "fortunate" in being able to incorporate open source software into its ICT strategy.

"The way most NHS IT departments work is that they have the resources to run the infrastructure and to negotiate with other companies, but the installation of a new piece of software means acquiring a commercial bit of software and the company come in and install it. And that same company usually maintain and support it.

"With open source software it's different; although it's free you need someone in-house to download, install and maintain it and most NHS IT departments simply do not have that resource."

The trust began the implementation of OpenEyes in January with a module for booking in-patient procedures. This followed a development phase and pilots projects which began in November 2010. Aylward expects the entire system to be completed by the end of 2013.

Moorfields will invest £3.5m in the project over four years, but plans to recoup its investment by delivering cost savings of £4.5m over the same period.

The new modules are OpNote, which allows surgeons to record surgical notes electronically, including diagrams and pictures. The correspondence module allows clinicians to create discharge letters for GPs that are pre-populated with information, such as the latest surgery and prescription and a post-operative review; while the third module issues straightforward prescriptions.

Clinical modules current being developed include pharmacy, opthoptics, optometrists, pre-operative assessments, audit and research facilities.

Aylward said that the team have collaborated with 40 clinicians from other trusts to develop and test the functionality of the modules, including cataract specialists in Fife and glaucoma specialists in Cardiff.

This article was originally published at Government Computing. Devs can find further information and the OpenEyes code on github.

Government Computing covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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