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IMS Maxims open to open source

31 July 2013   Rebecca Todd

IMS Maxims is in discussions with NHS England about the possibility of open sourcing some of its software.

Guidance released this month by NHS England, ‘Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: achieving an integrated digital care records’, says the commissioning board wants to create a “vibrant market” of national solutions and products that are available under open source licensing arrangements.

Beverley Bryant, NHS England’s director of strategic systems and technology, told EHI that the commissioning board is already in talks with some providers about open sourcing their software.

“We are currently in discussions with a number of organisations about making their proprietary software open source and persuading them that the future is open source because we want to give clinicians the flexibility,” she said.

One of the commercial providers in discussions is IMS Maxims. Chief executive Shane Tickell has written an Industry View on why the company is considering the idea.

“Rather than feeling threatened by the potential for open source, we have been evaluating, for some time the implications to our business and to our existing and future customers of moving to make part of our product portfolio open source,” he said.

“Our key consideration would be to make the IMS MAXIMS patient administration system open source and available to NHS trusts in the first instance. If that proved effective and was managed safely, then we would consider how this could be extended to our electronic patient record.

“Whilst we are far from committing to this model and still have a long way to go in making any decision, we believe that open source solutions could enable the NHS to leverage intellect from a wider range of sources, share success and ultimately help to implement more tailored, efficient systems and at a far greater pace,” Tickell explained.

NHS England is also looking for sites to trial the development of an NHS version of the US Veterans Health Association’s open source electronic medical record.

Trusts can indicate that they are interested in piloting ‘NHS VistA’ on the application form for the Technology Fund. Applications are due by close of play today.


A Leeds University Masters student is researching how decisions about selecting IT systems for the NHS are made, including the use of open source. If you want to contribute, a survey can be found online.




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