The CIO at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has said the organisation is planning to go live with an open source electronic health record (EHR) “some time between June and October” this year.

Andy Blofield confirmed his trust was plans to initially go live with an open-standards based electronic prescribing module, on a single pilot ward.

He added that he doesn’t have “all the information” as the technology is still “very new”. The trust is thought to be the first to go live with OpenEPR, the open standards electronic health architecture which is supported by Slovenian company Marand.

An Anglicised version of the e-prescribing module has been developed under the Code4Health initiative, including clinical assurance by NHS Digital.

It is hoped that by introducing an open platform in Plymouth, the trust can have true data independence and vendor neutrality.

Blofield also said he hopes this will be the first step to creating “one ecosystem involving other trusts” in the south-west of England.

And he mentioned the platform will be an “incremental investment” and will be about “avoiding unnecessary costs”.

Speaking at an event in September 2017, Blofield explained the approach was driven by financial necessity, as the trust had no money, adding “we had no options”.

Peter Coates, head of eco-system development at NHS Digital, said a platform is needed that apps can “coalesce around apps like Apple has with iOS”.

Coates also added that not being “locked into a vendor” means the “sky is the limit”.

Another aspect of the open platform involves working together with the University of Plymouth, which is leading a number of projects in Devon and Cornwall to create a ‘Digital Health Ecosystem’.

Arunangsu Chatterjee – director of technology enhanced learning and distance learning at the University of Plymouth – told attendees the university has been working with small and medium-sized enterprises to help built digital health innovations.

“It is about creating patient-centred care,” he said.