An open source electronic patient record system developed at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be deployed across 40 sites in developing Commonwealth countries.

Part of the project involves developing the EPR to run on the low cost Raspberry Pi computers and mobile devices.  

Moorfields is one of 11 institutions that have come together as the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, with the help of a £7m grant from The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

The new consortium will deliver a programme of fellowships, research and technology to developing countries in the Commonwealth and part of this is the deployment of the Open Eyes EPR to 40 institutions.

Director of the Open Eyes project at Moorfields, Bill Aylward, told EHI the developing world has several problems in common with health systems in the developed world and one of these is poor clinical information systems. The difference is that often patient notes are not even kept on paper.

The first pilot will be in a Tanzanian hospital before the end of the year. Aylward is travelling to Tanzania next month to choose a site. The aim is to deploy the system in “a few” more sites next year, building up to 40 sites over five years.

He said Open Eyes is an attractive system to implement because of its low cost. Part of the project will involve getting the EPR to run on Raspberry Pi computers and mobile tablet devices.

There is also work going on to link the EPR with developments in the area of smart phone apps that can replace large heavy equipment for clinicians working in remote African locations. For example, apps that turn a smart phone into a microscope or camera.

Aylward said the implementation of Open Eyes will help in terms of collecting data for international research and will greatly expand the open source community for the system. The 40 new users will focus on developing parts of the system that deal with problems rarely seen in the UK.

“The pay back for the project is that they are treating a whole raft of conditions that are very rare in the UK, so they can focus on adding functionality to Open Eyes,” he explained.

A CCIO Leaders Network Open Source Conference is being held at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as part of EHI’s Digital Health Festival on 16 May. Full details of the confirmed events can be found on the Digital Health Festival website.

Other events are welcome to join the three-week programme of conferences, meetings, and social events. If you would like your e-health event to be considered for listing on the festival fringe, please contact Charlie Beall. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Contact Sean Romain for details.