Wye Valley NHS Trust has signed a five-year deal with IMS Maxims to implement its open source electronic patient record openMaxims.

The trust, which provides both community and acute services, is the second in the country to pick openMaxims, following Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s decision to go with the product last year.

Simon Lind, project and portfolio manager at Wye Valley, told Digital Health News that he expects to go live with openMaxims as a patient administration system in both acute and community settings in autumn next year.

In both cases, it will replace CSC’s i.PM, which was deployed as an ‘interim’ system as part of the National Programme for IT.

Further enhancements, such as order communications, diagnostics reporting, electronic discharge summaries and scheduling for beds, tests and theatres, are expected to be rolled out after the initial go-live.

Lind said the total value of the project is £15 million, including supplier costs and infrastructure upgrades.

This is supported by £1,350,000 in funding from NHS England’s Integrated Digital Care Fund as well as investment from the NHS Trust Development Authority.

Lind said that this is a huge step for the trust which has previously “really struggled to invest in IT” and a “fantastic opportunity we are going to push forward with.”

He mentioned that there is “very little” IT functionality at the trust, which is “heavily paper-based” so: “This is going to be a real quantum leap in our use of IT.”

Lind said the decision to move to openMaxims was influenced in part by its being open source. “Open source gives us greater flexibility with the ability to configure the system ourselves if we choose to.

“The other thing is around being able to get support from another supplier if that is required. That’s not a clinical driver, but that’s certainly something we can look to in the future.”

He also mentioned that the trust was also impressed by the functionality of the EPR and that the product provided real value in terms of cost.

Commenting on the decision, Peter Coates, NHS England’s open source programme manager, underlined that the trust’s decision had been taken after looking at other options available through a framework set up by NHS Shared Business Services.

This is intended to support trusts in the North, Midlands and East that need to move off their national contracts before they end in July next year.

"What is interesting about this latest decision to deploy an open source EPR is that it was, as I understand, the first to be procured via the SBS framework, in competition on a level playing field with proprietary solutions.  

“It seems IMS Maxims has struck a balance between the openness and flexibility of an open source solution with the commercial industrial strength support and services arrangements [of a proprietary solution] over a long contractual period of time to bring assurances to the care community around using open source."

Wye Valley has been talking to Taunton and Somerset, which is due to go live with openMaxims by the end of 2015.

“Taunton has been extremely helpful in terms of sharing plans and information about what they are doing. We can work more closely with them now we are confirmed,” said Lind.

The trust will use the implementation to integrate its existing clinical systems, so users can access relevant information in a single platform, without using multiple log-ins and passwords.

Dr Jake Burdsall, consultant lead for IT at the Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “You cannot underestimate the importance of having clinical information, be it past attendances, episodes or diagnostic results, to help make immediate and future decisions on a patient’s care.”

Shane Tickell, chief executive of IMS Maxmis, said: “This is yet another significant step in the adoption of open source technology within healthcare.”