An Anglicised version of the VistA electronic patient record system is now ready to be deployed at NHS trusts, according to one of the companies behind its development.
General Dynamics Information Technology has worked with fellow US company Medsphere to develop a UK-specific version of the US Veterans Health Administration system.
The companies prepared a “first cut” of the system in December 2013 with Tony Shannon, the chief clinical information officer of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
Mark Meudt, General Dynamics IT’s vice president of communications, told EHI that this version has now “advanced considerably”.
He said it is now ready to be deployed by trusts with configuration only needed to meet specific local requirements. Meudt said ‘Vista for NHS’ is substantially different from the VA version.
The differences include a more intuitive and modern interface, the introduction of different modules not typically provided in the VA – such as maternity and child health – and the addition of implementation, maintenance and support services.
Meudt said the system includes a focus on e-prescribing, clinical decision support, medication orders, clinical notes and medication administration – where “most NHS trusts are looking to increase their digital maturity”.
“By providing a complete end-to-end closed loop medication administration module, we are providing clinicians a single source where all information for the patient can be viewed and processed.”
He said General Dynamics IT has also been working with First Databank to make sure that UK drug knowledge is incorporated into the NHS VistA for better medication decision support.
It has also addressed UK demographic differences by introducing the NHS Number as VistA’s primary patient identifier, adding UK address and post code look-ups, and updating the VistA data model to support the inbound interface of all UK patient administration system data attributes.
Meudt said the UK-specific version of VistA is not intended to replace trusts’ existing systems.
However, VistA and its modules can integrate with any legacy patient administration or electronic patient record systems that support HL7 bi-directional messaging, or via an integration engine.
Meudt said the company is now working with a number of trusts interested in VistA, while it is also responding to open OJEU tenders.
Peter Coates, NHS England’s open source programme manager, told EHI the news is an “exciting step” for NHS open source.
“It has a track record of use and it is a very mature product…It’s good to have a wider range of solutions available.”
Coates said trusts have expressed particular interest in using VistA’s prescribing and imaging modules as areas of greatest need for them.
Coates said trusts will need to decide whether VistA is appropriate for them, with NHS England taking a “vendor-agnostic” approach to open source solutions.
“It’s not about saying we’d like to see particular software in use, it’s more of an overall approach to broaden the options that are available.”