The Free Electronic Health Record Manifesto


A specter is haunting the National Health Service – the specter of inefficiency and fragmented healthcare data. All the powers of the health sector have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter: health administrators and bureaucrats, technology vendors and proprietary software giants.

A tumultuous epoch of information silos, proprietary systems, and bureaucratic red tape has dominated our healthcare landscape for far too long. The time has come to establish a new paradigm, a paradigm that champions transparency, collaboration, and interoperability. We present this manifesto as a call to arms – a call for the liberation of healthcare data for the common good of the NHS and the well-being of its patients.

I. Preamble

The history of all hitherto existing healthcare systems is the history of data fragmentation. Patient information is scattered across disparate systems, hindering the efficiency of medical professionals, compromising patient safety, and impeding the potential for groundbreaking research. We declare that the existing state of fragmented healthcare data is untenable, and we strive for a future where information flows seamlessly for the betterment of patient care.

II. The Interoperable Commonwealth

Let the data of all patients be universally accessible, unencumbered by proprietary constraints or administrative barriers. We advocate for the adoption of interoperable open standards, ensuring that healthcare data can be seamlessly exchanged and utilised across different systems. The adoption of open standards will empower healthcare professionals, fostering collaboration and innovation, and ultimately enhancing the quality of care provided to patients.

III. Liberation through Open Source

The shackles of proprietary software shall no longer bind the NHS. We demand the liberation of healthcare technology through the use of free and open source software. The code that governs our healthcare systems must be open to scrutiny, fostering transparency, security, and adaptability. By embracing open source principles, we reject the notion that healthcare technology should be a commodity controlled by profit-driven entities, and instead affirm the principle that it should be a public good, accessible to all.

IV. The Common Good of the NHS

In the pursuit of the common good, we advocate for the establishment of a centralised, secure, and publicly owned repository for electronic health records. This repository, governed by principles of data privacy and patient consent, will serve as the bedrock for a holistic understanding of patient health. The collective knowledge derived from this shared repository will drive advancements in medical research, improve clinical outcomes, and ensure the continued resilience of the NHS.

V. A Call to Action

Working men and women of the NHS, unite! Let us cast away the chains of data fragmentation and proprietary dominance. The path to a healthier and more efficient healthcare system lies in the collective pursuit of interoperability, open standards, and free and open source software. In the spirit of unity and collaboration, let us forge a future where healthcare data serves the common good and upholds the principles of equity, accessibility, and patient-centered care.

Workers of the NHS, the digital revolution beckons. Embrace it for the well-being of all!