Lots has happened since the last post here. OpenOdonto (which I shall call ‘Odonto’ for brevity, if I need to) has become a real thing: We have set up a CIC (Community Interest Company) to manage it and secured funding from Apperta (although I think it was the NHS England Open Source Software Foundation when we kicked off). We are very grateful to them: the initial funding helped us to secure a team, along with support from other trusts based in the North East of England who provided Clinician time. This has allowed us to properly understand what the problem is - without this time and space we might have been tempted to start building a solution which may not have accommodated all user needs. We used the expertise from various academic institutions to do this, predominantly Newcastle University Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/kite/). Our next steps are to develop this insight into a set of really useful components (‘apps’ or ‘systems’) which each have utility but together will provide better care for patients through a combination of better records management, better utillisation of clinicians time (and others) and better communications with patients. Some of this work seems to have been done already - there are a number of eRefferal systems which we are looking at: so long as they can be made open source (or exhibit the characteristics of open source software, without wanting to get into a detailed discussion of that!) then we would prefer to adopt them, if we can make it all fit together.
Our next steps will be to further develop this community to make sure we are engaging with the needs of all Community Dentistry. To do this we will need some more funding and are exploring a number of avenues to find this: some of those are the original investors in this project but we also have interest from other sources; for example CCG’s who fund Community Dentists, academic institutions and so on.
So I hope by posting here we can engage the interest / contribution /support of anyone who would like to make community Dentistry better. Join in, criticise, coerce, support and cajole: It is what these forums are for!