Openness was the theme of an OpenEHR event as healthcare professionals gathered to debate the benefits of having a more flexible electronic health record.

OpenEHR day, held in London on 28 October, was kicked off by Dr Ian McNicol, clinical co-chair of the INTEROPen Board.

Speaking at the Skills Matter venue in Moorgate, McNicol explained that openEHR was a “new way of building health IT software”.

OpenEHR is defined as a solution capable of supporting an open platform ecosystem that is technology and vendor-neutral.

Adding on this, Tomaž Gornik, co-chair of the openEHR Foundation, said the perfect health IT scenario would be to “have clinical people build the model and the IT people build the software”.

Summarising, he said “healthcare is changing and today’s monolithic applications can’t cope”.

Looking towards the future, Gornik said he believed it would be a “multi-vendor” landscape, meaning “vendor-neutral health data” would be a “key asset”.

He added: “OpenEHR provides a proven platform to build new innovative applications”.

Another speaker on the day was Andrew Forest, CIO of Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust.

The trust is a Global Digital Exemplar (GDE), NHS England’s flagship programme which aims to create a group of reference sites for NHS digitisation that provide standardised blueprints for other trusts to follow.

Forest was questioned on ensuring the success of openEHR is shared with others as part of the blueprinting process.

In response, he said the trust was “doing something different and learning the lessons of openEHR”, confirming that it had the intention to open up the blueprints and share what it had learnt.

On the topic of engagement, Forest said the trust wanted to be “very open with citizens” on the a number of subjects, especially data.

He added: “We spent a lot of time out in the town centres and around the clinics, talking to people about what we are going to do with their data.”

The aim of the day was to provide an introduction to openEHR through speakers talking about their experience with the platform, its implementation, the scale of opportunity, and vision for its capabilities to facilitate interoperability in healthcare.