NHS finances are under intense pressure and demand for services is rising. Something has to give and business as usual is not an option. NHS England recognised this when it supported the establishment of Code4Health, an initiative that stimulates and supports IT innovation in healthcare. One of outcomes of the initiative was to establish an open source (OS) practice, reaching out to an increasing number of open source projects, providing software suitable for use across UK health and care.
One of the major attractions of OS software for organisations seeking to spend less, is that it delivers functionality that are typically found in the highest levels of enterprise-class software and has the added attraction of being free to acquire. There is no licence fee. Remove the licence costs and projects can become considerably more affordable. Add to that, that health and care professionals are at the heart of the design process and the solutions become even more appealing across the health and care space.
There are a number of hugely impressive OS products already available for the NHS, including the 2015 Open Source Award winner, OpenEyes; an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) for Ophthalmology.
Recognising Code4Health’s need for a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution to model, record and manage the often wide ranging relationships across Code4Health communities, supporters and partners, the OSSF supported the initiative by turning to the UK-run open source SuiteCRM project’s solution.
SuiteCRM is a completely open source CRM application that delivers best-of-class functionality. It is used by organisations as diverse as Standford University and Northumberland Police, often to deliver business critical functionality.
Bill Aylward, Chair of the Open Source Software Foundation explains why they chose SuiteCRM “We needed a highly functional CRM system that worked out the box and could be deployed very quickly, we were able to achieve this with suiteCRM, the cost benefit and flexibility that we also gain from the solution being open source made this a really easy decision for us.”
Peter Coates, Code4Health & Open Source Programme Head at NHS England adds “It’s great to see the concept of Code4Health with it’s Supporters such as Sales Agility becoming a reality by delivering a contribution to the Health & Care community with the initial deployment of this open source solution for the OSSF.”
SalesAgility's CEO, Greg Soper is equally upbeat about engaging with Code4Health. “We're all taxpayers. We're all concerned that a national institution like the NHS that affects each of us in profound ways continues to deliver world-class services. We take great pleasure in being a cost reduction catalyst. Providing a world class software product that contributes to freeing budgets from IT expenditure to patient care is enormously satisfying. We also greatly enjoyed working to support Code4Health through the Open Source Software Foundation and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with them and the wider NHS”.
SalesAgility is currently working with several NHS departments and agencies on open source CRM projects in the NHS.