An open source electronic patient record system developed at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in the UK is to be deployed across 40 sites in developing Commonwealth countries.

Part of the project involves developing the EPR to run on the low-cost Raspberry Pi computers and mobile devices, reports E-Health Insider.

Moorfields is one of 11 institutions that have come together as the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium, with the help of a £7 milion grant from The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

The new consortium will deploy the Open Eyes EPR to 40 institutions as part of a programme of fellowships, research and technology. The first pilot will be in a Tanzanian hospital before the end of the year, building up to 40 sites over five years.

Director of the Open Eyes project at Moorfields, Bill Aylward, said the developing world has several problems in common with health systems in the developed world and one of these is poor clinical information systems. The difference is that often patient notes are not even kept on paper.

He said Open Eyes is an attractive system to implement because of its low cost. Part of the project will involve getting the EPR to run on Raspberry Pi computers and mobile tablet devices.

There is also work going on to link the EPR with developments in the area of smart phone apps − for example, apps that turn a smart phone into a microscope or camera − that can replace large heavy equipment for clinicians working in remote African locations.

Aylward said the implementation of Open Eyes will help in terms of collecting data for international research and will greatly expand the open source community for the system. The 40 new users will focus on developing parts of the system that deal with problems rarely seen in the UK.

"The payback for the project is that they are treating a whole raft of conditions that are very rare in the UK, so they can focus on adding functionality to Open Eyes," he explained.