The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) has gone live with OpenEyes, the open source electronic patient record (EPR) for ophthalmology. Hosting both a Global Digital Exemplar site, Salford Royal, and it’s Fast Follower, The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; the NCA is the latest GDE site to go live with this open source solution.

“One of the key attractions towards OpenEyes was its maturity as an EPR and it being live in a number of NHS sites. We wanted a solution to fit the NCA’s specific requirements, so having the ability to contribute to the code and work with the teams at Apperta and ToukanLabs to get the right solution was key to our decision-making process.” Rob Dodd, GDE Fast Follower Programme Manager, The Northern Care Alliance.

The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group brings together the Salford Royal and Pennine Acute Trust operating hospitals and community services in Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale.

Open source software is free-of-charge under a specific license, making it a cost-effective option for the NHS. Typically, in healthcare settings, integration partners are used for implementation to ensure clinical data integrates with hospital workflows and PAS systems.

The NCA used the GCloud framework to quickly procure professional services from ToukanLabs, to manage the implementation of OpenEyes. A rapid decision and implementation plan, during the Covid crisis, led to go live of the system within 6 months for cataracts across sites in Bury, Oldham and Rochdale.

“OpenEyes will completely change the way we work across ophthalmology at the NCA. We have been encumbered with unreliable systems for some time; a new solution with such a responsive and reliable user interface, which we’ve been able to customise, will definitely increase our productivity. The robust auditing system will also help us by ensuring improved patient safety. Clinical data is able to be analysed in real time, allowing us to discuss any operative risks with patients at the point of care. Working with Toukan Labs has been a real positive experience from a medical and nursing perspective and has led to us moving the OpenEyes deployment timetable forward by 3 months.” Mr Farhan Qureshi, Consultant Ophthalmic & Clinical Director of Ophthalmology, Pennine Acute.

The NCA will be creating the OpenEyes blueprint. As a GDE, Trusts are required to create a number of blueprints as part of NHS England’s National Provider Digitisation Programme. Blueprints are used to help other NHS Trusts deliver digital capabilities more quickly and cost effectively with a view to improving services to patients and creating efficiencies for the NHS.

Additional OpenEyes services will go live this summer at the NCA, including cornea, glaucoma and medical retina services.