Building applications on an open platform allows hospitals to “take advantage of new technologies” while keeping their own systems running, the CEO of Better by Marand has said.

Speaking at the first Digital Health Rewired Conference and Exhibition in London on 26 March, Tomaž Gornik said using a system with open standards allows data to be more easily transferrable between applications when they’re upgraded.

Gomik, who is also the co-chair of openEHR Foundation, said using open APIs “like FHIR or openEHR” had several benefits.

“One of them being that as you add apps, they’re able to reuse the data produced by the previous apps and even by the legacy systems,” he told the audience in London.

“This is what we call the post-modern EHR. As you add applications to this it becomes even more powerful until in the end you have an ecosystem, an app store of innovation, that sits alongside your legacy which is really hard to get rid of.

“With this approach you’re able to take advantage of new technologies while at the same time keeping your systems running.”

Gornik said health data is “not much different” to other data, except that it has to last much longer.

“In healthcare we need to keep the data from 100 years, or the lifetime of the patient. There is no application that lasts 100 years, even the best ones will need to be replaced every 15-20 years depending on how much money you have,” he said.

“What happens to the data? We end up moving it from one proprietary format to another every time we switch applications.

“This is what open EHR does, it pulls the data out of applications and separates the two because they have very different life cycles.

“The data has to live for a long time and has to be shared by as many applications as possible, while the applications will come and go and be available from different vendors.”

Another “big advantage” to an open platform, Gornik said, is that it “fully engages” clinicians.

The end result is an application that has been designed by IT specialists with content designed by clinicians, making it easier to use and adopt.

Keynote speakers at the event included Dr Ben Goldacre who argued data analytics in healthcare is fundamentally broken and mistakenly focused on academic pursuit rather than actionable insight.

Chairman of the British Heart Foundation Doug Gurr used his talk to say data science will be “transformational” in the healthcare sector and Babylon CEO Ali Parsa said he want to make healthcare “accessible” for all – opening his keynote with the story of David and Goliath saying he believed the story reflected the power of technology.