Open Source Programme

The Open Source Programme is about making best practice IT solutions in health and care accessible to all. By making the software, or the source code freely available and downloadable from platforms such as GitHub, open source software can be developed, improved or tailored to suit the local needs of an organisation.

This flexibility makes open source software particularly suitable for use within the healthcare industry where, through active collaboration between IT suppliers and user/clinicians communities, solutions can be honed to maximise benefits to delivery of health and social care.

Open source is based on four software freedoms:

  1. Freedom to use
  2. Freedom to redistribute copies
  3. Freedom to understand how it works and adapt it
  4. Freedom to make and share improvements with anyone

What are the benefits of Open Source?

The benefits of Open Source are:

Ownership: Due to the vast configurability of open source software, Trusts have more control over the system. These modifications allow the technology to be completely bespoke to the Trust’s needs.

Accessibility: Open source software can be used and changed by anyone. This accessibility allows for constant developments and improvements made to the software.

Freedom: The supplier and maintenance needed to maintain the software are selected entirely by the Trust, with no lock in or long term commitments should situations change

Cost-effective: The licensing of open source software is significantly reduced compared to its proprietary counterpart.

Empowering: From clinicians to nurses, healthcare professionals have more input on software improvements and uses. This is bridging the gap between staff and technology, which will be critical for matters like the Paperless 2020 initiative.

Best Practice: Much like in the practice of medicine, open source runs on the philosophy of universally shared knowledge. New ideas and solutions are combined and promoted for the community’s benefit.

We coordinate open source work via our support of the Code4Health initiative, to find out more please email