Blackpool Trust moves to an open source EPR

“‘When I speak to people about open source in the NHS, I say why wouldn’t you consider it as an option?’”

[Lancashire, UK] Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says a desire to save IT costs has prompted a move to an ‘open source’ version of a commercial electronic patient record (EPR).

The EPR in question is openMAXIMS - and the cost savings, if realised, are indeed considerable: in the order of several millions of pounds in saved software licence fees and possibly as much as 60% under the regular version of the same suite, according to the Trust’s tech team.

As a result, the new system has been commissioned and is expected to soon improve the recording and sharing of patient data across its hospital and community sites.

Deployment began last month (December 2015) and when live will allow its 3,000-plus clinical staff to share a single digital patient record across all Blackpool’s sites, supporting the Trust’s drive towards being paperless by 2020 and introducing workflow efficiencies across all departments.

“We expect the open source approach to cost at least 60% less compared to a traditional proprietary route,” said Steven Bloor, Blackpool’s CIO.

“[We are] a big supporter of the move towards open source within the NHS and always considers open source options first when procuring IT,” he added.

“We want to not only gain more efficient patient care by using the most advanced EPR available but at the same time, achieve value for money through an open and collaborative roadmap for ongoing software development.”

And the move to open source is something Bloor says other Trusts need to look at, too: “When I speak to people about open source in the NHS, I say why wouldn’t you consider it as an option? This flexibility on offer gives us the confidence [this] software has a long-term roadmap for our organisation.”

Five-year contract

The EPR was procured via the NHS Shared Business Services framework and the five-year contract involves the supplier providing implementation, support, configuration, data migration, and maintenance.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust serves a population of approximately 440,000 residents across Blackpool, the Fylde, Wyre, Lancashire and South Cumbria and the North of England.

Employing more than 6,000 staff and operating on a budget of approximately £335m per year, it has over 800 beds across all sites and more than 100,000 day-case and inpatients, 300,000 outpatients and nearly 90,000 A&E patients every year.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the third trust in the UK to select the openMAXIMS system from supplier IMS MAXIMS, which released the code for its open source technology to the NHS in 2014.