Open Source EHRs and Open Standards in Healthcare

A couple of months ago, we held a Digital Health Oxford event on Open Source Electronic Health Records systems and Open Standards in Healthcare at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University. We had four great speakers who shared their knowledge and experience about Open Source EHR systems and the use of Open Standards in healthcare. We recorded the talks and they are now available to view (see embedded videos below) so I thought I would highlight them in a blog post.

It was a real pleasure to host this event as I have been investigating the use of Open Source EHR systems in Kenya for the past few years and it was interesting to compare to how Open Source appears to be taking off in high-income countries like the UK. Mike Denis kicked off proceedings with a great overview of the work the Oxford AHSN is doing in Oxfordshire and was followed up by Shane Tickell from IMS MAXIMS. IMS MAXIMS is a particularly interesting case as they are very much a commercial EHR vendor who have recently adopted an open source approach – unlike the grant-funded Open Source systems that our research team has encountered in Kenya. Tim Benson’s talk on interoperability showed that progress is being made on the age old problem of getting systems to talk to each other. The new FHIR standard seems like a great approach and seems to have taken off quite dramatically over the last couple of years. Finally, it was very good to hear about innovative companies such as Open Healthcare UK that have built a business on developing and supporting Open Source software in the NHS. With the number of Open Source EHRs in use in Africa, there is a real need for local businesses to support and continue to develop implementations.

Enjoy the videos and if you would like to add to the discussion on Open Source software in healthcare, please feel free to post a comment.

Shane Tickell from IMS MAXIMS:

Tim Benson (Author of  Principles of Health Interoperability)

David Miller from Open Healthcare UK and NHS Hack Day

Learning Health Systems – MIE 2016

The first day of Medical Informatics Europe 2016 for me consisted of a tutorial led by Dr Niels Peek and Dr Evan Kontopantelis from the University of Manchester on the topic of Learning Health Systems followed by two very interesting Keynotes from Martin McKee and Andre Kushniruk.

First, Learning Health Systems.  The original concept was developed by the Institute of Medicine in the US in 2007:

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Since then, the concept has been adopted for several large research studies such as the PCORI network in the US and the Transform EU project. In Manchester Neils and Evan are using the concept in their research using CPRD and other large UK health databases through the Health e-Research Centre.

Our research group at Oxford has also been looking into Learning Health Systems, particularly for use in low-resource settings such as Kenya and we recently published a paper in PLOS Medicine about this opportunity.

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The MIE Learning Health Systems tutorial highlighted a number of great resources and concepts which I tweeted as the tutorial progressed. Niels was first presenting on the original concepts and research about learning health systems:

Niels was also kind enough to package up all the tutorial resources including the research papers mentioned and has shared them on Twitter:

Dr Kontopantelis’s presentation gave a great overview of the statistical issues relating to learning health systems:

After the tutorial, we had two great keynotes to kick off the conference proper. The first by Martin McKee was a very entertaining overview of the political economy of health:

Prof McKee’s speech generated lots of questions and discussion about how politics impacts on healthcare from the audience and also on twitter:

The second keynote was a very good overview of current usability methods by Prof Andre Kushnurik:

Andre is a guru of UX research in healthcare and it was great to hear that he has two (two!) new books coming out in early 2017:



I’m looking forward to business meetings with IMIA colleagues today and another interesting keynote this afternoon. Stay tuned…


Medical Informatics Europe 2016

I’m travelling to MIE 2016 tomorrow which is being hosted in Munich this year. I’m looking forward to hearing the latest news and research in Health Informatics from around Europe. I’ll be attending what promises to be a very interesting workshop on Sunday about the Technical and analytical challenges for Learning Health Systems by Niels Peek from Manchester. I’ll update this blog with news and research from the event.

Image by Thomas Wolf,, CC BY-SA 3.0 de,

Web 2.0 in Healthcare on NHS Resource Centre

Nice article about web 2.0 in healthcare on the NHS resource centre website:

If you thought the internet and email were amazing, you ain’t seen nothing yet. New Web 2.0 technologies are already being developed and having an impact on healthcare.

Nick Saalfeld sets out to find out what patients, doctors and policy makers are doing with collaborative and multi-media technologies.Internet technologies have changed the way almost everyone works. We can now communicate at lightning speed, work with peers on the other side of the world and find information at the click of a mouse.

Gen-i Sponsor m-Health NZ Conference

gen-iWe would like to welcome Gen-i as sponsors of the m-health NZ conference. Gen-i is a leading ICT services provider, successfully integrating IT and telecommunications services to provide converged ICT solutions for clients across New Zealand and Australia. M-health is very appreciative of Gen-i’s interest in mobile health in New Zealand and for its support of our conference. We look forward to hearing more on the 6th November.

If you haven’t registered yet, you can register for the conference here.

If you are interested in speaking, you can still submit a paper until 4th September. Submit your abstract here.

If you would like to become a sponsor of m-Health NZ, you can find out more information here.