NHS Hack Day brings open source to UK Health Service
The first NHS Hack Day has highlighted applications which could help the UK's National Health Service provide better, more customisable services for people. The event was won by a group who developed an electronic patient task list for doctors.
The group, made up of software developers and healthcare practitioners, came up with Patient List, a Rails-based application which takes a feed of a hospital's electronic patient medical records and turns it into a list of a doctor's patients, making it easier to track tasks and update the patient's care records. The software also helps when handing over between healthcare shifts, enabling better continuity of care. The application was put together in 24 hours and beat thirteen other projects submitted to the judging panel.
One project that Patient List beat was Mobile Formulary, which scrapes data from the British National Formulary (BNF) site and republishes it in a way that could save GPs around £60 a year. The data scraped from the BNF site and used by the application is, however, subject to various copyright restrictions.
The organiser of the NHS Hack Day 2012, Dr Carl Reynolds, said that the "weekend has been about geeks who love the NHS and clinicians who have given up a weekend of their own time, which has been truly amazing" and that he wanted to "call out to the people who make decisions in the NHS procurement process to look at this model and the power of what the smaller guys can achieve and the power of openness in the model".
Further NHS Hack Days are being organised for Liverpool and Oxford, following the success of the first event.