IMS Maxims has released the open source code for its electronic patient record system on its website and plans set up a "community of interest" for trusts using the software in the next three months.

Speaking at NHS England’s ‘Open Source Open Day’, Shane Tickell, chief executive at IMS Maxims, announced that the company has made the code for its openMAXIMS product suite available on its website.

The EPR system includes modules such as a patient administration system, A&E, theatres and reporting modules, but does not have maternity, e-prescribing, patient portal and bedside observations.

The software is currently available under the Affero General Public Licence, which allows the client to use and distribute modified copies as long as the modified code is made available to other users.

Tickell said that the release of the code is the first step in the company's move towards open source, with "a lot of work still to do".

"This isn't a natural step, it's a very significant change. I don't think we've got every answer and done everything perfectly, but we want to make change and that starts now."

Speaking to EHI, Tickell said that the company decided to become open source because it believes it is the best way to improve its software and compete against other suppliers.

"The more we looked at open source, the more interest and excitement we had, because it helps us to achieve our ambitions and match our principles of best practice.

"We believe that by making this available now, we can accelerate our ambitions, because we're already competing against world-class vendors."

Tickell said IMS Maxims is offering implementation and support services to trusts who want to use the open source software.

"We're not saying 'here's the code, good luck'. We're saying 'here's the code, and we'd be delighted to help and look at how we can assist you to get the best out of the product."

Tickell said company will soon release the code on GitHub, the open source collaboration review and code management platform, and will maintain a core code stream with updates for NHS trusts.

The company is also planning to establish a ‘community of interest’ for trusts using its open source products, where code updates and support can be provided.

He said it could be set up in the next three months, although the timing will depend on discussions with NHS England and the relevant trusts.

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust chose IMS Maxims to supply its EPR system in March this year and is likely to become the first acute NHS trust to implement an open source EPR.