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'We want open source approach to spread' says Leeds CIO


Leeds City Council is at the helm of a ‘demonstrator’ project that is building an open source digital care record platform that will be made available to local health authorities, local authorities, and health and social care providers nationwide. 

The team behind the initiative, named Ripple, is made up of Leeds City Council – which is hosting the platform – the Local Government Association, NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre. 

Its director is Tony Shannon, formerly clinical consultant for the NHS Connecting for Health programme and Chief Clinical Information Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Integrated Digital Care Record (IDCR) platform, aimed at patients and care professionals, will display patient data including allergies, medication, care plans, key contacts, diagnoses, appointments, procedures and referrals in a single view ‘dashboard’. It will also offer an online appointment booking facility and, potentially, the ability for patients and healthcare professionals to speak via voice over IP video call.

“We are clear that health and social care is at a crossroads and new ways of working are clearly required”, said Dylan Roberts (pictured), Chief Information Officer at Leeds City Council and leader of the programme. “Health and care have been waiting for the arrival of a 21st century platform to transform care and we are offering our work with Ripple as a means towards that end".

“We chose the name Ripple as we wanted our open source approach to spread and make waves across health and social care”, said Roberts.

Roberts emphasised the importance of co-production in the development of the platform. He said that the Ripple team has adopted a user-led hackathon-style method, already in use in Leeds City Council’s own digital projects, in which products are developed in just three days. A series of patient engagement workshops began in July to look at "what people would want if they have access to their own health record online".

Under the programme, a series of core elements are being developed, including the user interface, called IDCR viewer, which will be connected to an open integration engine and hosted in a NHS environment. 

“We are building that to be highly usable at the point of care, based on lessons learnt from our work on the Leeds Care Record programme and related user experience work”, Roberts said.

Another component is called ‘50 archetypes’ and will be released and hosted on the UK Clinical Knowledge Management system in March 2016. Roberts described it as the "Lego bricks of Care Record architecture that we are using to build our base IDCR platform”. 

He said the main challenge of implementing the programme "as ever, comes down to the people aspects" and "getting the message across to a range of clinical, business and technical staff across health and social care that now is the time to collaborate and co-design solutions for 21st century care as never before". Other but less pressing challenges are around the "process and technical aspects".

The programme is being funded via the NHS Tech IDCR fund of £1.35 million over two years awarded to Leeds City Council, and is part of the wider NHS Improving Quality initiative’s 25 Integrated Care Pioneers programme, which is showcasing examples of integrated care in practice. 

“The aim of the integration pioneer community is to continue to develop shared learning and resources, so we are also hoping that the sites and organisations who want to build an open source IDCR will be able to share their intelligence and approaches”, Roberts said.


Watch a video demonstration from Ripple.

Follow Ripple on Twitter @RippleOSI.




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