Malcolm Newbury's picture


Another hackday appearance for the myself, Saj and Russ this weekend as we travel to London's Guys Hospital for another NHSHackday bash.
This time we'll be trying to make a useful connection between tools in the BRISSKit suite and Apple's HealthKit. There seems to be a lot in common between the underlying data models, and who knows we might be able to come up with a useful personal fitness research application at the end of it. - Lets hope so!


Final agenda for community meet + hack Feb 23-24th 2015!

We're excited to announce the final agenda for the community meet + hack on Feb 23rd - 24th at College Court, Leicester. See the event link for details:

We can squeeze in a last handful if you're quick!


Malcolm Newbury's picture

QRcodes for Research administrators : NHSHackday Cardiff

Interesting project at NHShackday Cardiff 24/25 January.

Problem: Carers have no access to patient data
Solution : Paper's Got Data / WISDAM
Produce secure ODF catalogues of patient data
Give patient a summary printout of catalogue with QR codes
Each QR code can be scanned on phone to get latest up to date data of each dataset.
Restrict data access to patient and carers
Build Libreoffice plugin to create QRcodes in ODF

The 2 day project managed to deliver a lot of discussion and argument between myself, Helga Perry and Rupert Fawdry, plus a plugin to Libreoffice to insert a QRcode into a word processing file - courtesy Michael Meeks of Collabra.

QRcodes are of significant use to research administrators who have to handle lots of letters and consent forms as part of the interaction with the patient, so this open source plugin may come in useful to Brisskit - we'll wait and see.

BRISSKit at the annual Open Specimen community meeting in St Louis (9th/10th December 2014)

Saj Issa from the BRISSKit team and Nick Holden from the NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit attended the first annual Open Specimen community meeting at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, USA.

Open Specimen, formally known as caTissue, has been rewritten and redeveloped using the latest development technologies and has been vastly upgraded. The look and feel of the application is now much cleaner and better defined. It's usability has also improved. Many new features have been developed, including REST APIs and new interfaces to reporting. Also many new features are planned which can be viewed at:

Khrishagni solutions are the main partner who are redeveloping the application and are very much open to new ideas and features.

Overall the Open Specimen community is coming together nicely, remains optimistic and there is a real determination to make Open Specimen the best open source tool for bio-specimen information management.

New BRISSKIT-ANNOUNCE mailing list

Please sign up to the new BRISSKit-ANNOUNCE mailing list which will just be for occasional announcements about the work we are doing, events or items of closely related interest. You can also follow us on twitter via @BRISSKit or search on #BRISSKit.

Health Research Meet + Hack, Feb 23-24th 2015

The BRISSKit project is now entering a new and exciting phase. BRISSKit is open source Biomedical Research Software as a Service and is a strategic project for Jisc in the UK, who intend to provide further funding to transition the project into a service during 2015-16. It complements the groundbreaking developments Jisc has recently brokered to enable the secure movement and hosting of sensitive datasets for research use via the Janet academic network and Shared Data Centre. BRISSKit offers the ability to upload, manage, combine and collaborate with datasets in-project using such a secure infrastructure and then enables analytics and reuse. The use of open source tools for common tasks allows researchers to integrate their own more specialized software and analytics expertise using the platform.

The next stage aims to build on the growing health science research data management and analytics community by hosting an open event on the 23rd/24th February 2015 at the College Court state-of-the-art conference facilities in Leicester. We are aware that we are not alone in the provision of health research data management software and seek to realise potential synergies with other solutions and datasets to meet research challenges. Naturally, we hope that many event participants will be interested in using one or more components in the BRISSKit platform, but the main objective for the event is to give others in the field the opportunity to share best practice through talks and also hands on open source solution use and development.

The event will feature talks from prominent researchers and solution providers. We will also showcase our 'Public cloud i2b2' software running on Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, available for free via BRISSKit or using existing accounts on the platforms. By making our version of i2b2 available in this way, BRISSKit seeks to ease upload, management of non sensitive research data.

We invite you to register for the event and also to join our heatlhresearchhack googlegroup!forum/healthresearchhack set up to suggest ideas - e.g. I've started a new thread on suggestions for improving use of civicrm for patient cohort management - and specifically to support planning for the event.

Malcolm Newbury's picture

BRISSKit at ODF Plugfest

Two days at the ODF Plugfest by members of the BRISSKit team, Jeff Lusted and Malcolm Newbury were rewarded with great new contacts in the open source space and renewed ideas for solutions to health research interoperability issues.

ODF is the new Cabinet Office mandated standard for document exchange, which all UK and NL central government departments are required to comply with for all documents communicated to the public.

ODF is of course the XML document standard adopted by the extremely popular Libreoffice, Neooffice, Openoffice word, spreadsheet, database, forms and slides package.

Personally I love the standard, but have always had interop issues with people who use the most recent version of MS Office - no surprise there!

The reason why ODF is of interest to BRISSKit, is because researchers (BRISSKit userbase) bury masses of their valuable research data in excel spreadsheets, which is not particularly useful if you want to share and mine the data.

Moving this data into ODF format provide the project with the ability to apply the power of the open source community to this data and easily upload these spreadsheets into our I2b2 data mining tool.

We will of course also be enabling excel upload, but using ODF will give us much more freedom to support the upload workflow, with shared ontologies - a critical need for researchers.

The plugfest was also extremely useful from a networking point of view, as we had conversations with Zaheda Bhorat , Steve Penberton, Michael Meeks, Michael, Malte Timmermann, Svante Schubert, Michiel Leenaars, Magnus Falk and many others.

Looking forward to the next one already.


BRISSKit at EHI Live at the NEC, Birmingham, Nov 4-5th 2014

BRISSKit will be speaking and demonstrating at the E-Health Insider EHI Live conference at the NEC Hall 1, Birmingham on the 4th and 5th Nov 2014. Free registration to the event is available through the EHI Live website!

We are exhibiting as part of the Skunkworks Open Source cluster of stands, organised by BRISSKit consultant Malcolm Newbury (Guildfoss), which also includes NHS England who are actively promoting the benefits of the open source approach. Colleagues from Jisc will also be represented including Malcolm Teague of Janet/Jisc speaking re eduroam and new Jisc Senior Co-Design Manager and BRISSKit colleague Daniela Duca who is busy helping us liaise with Jisc and it's partners as we design new national services with them.

So come and see a demo of BRISSKit at the stand or at one of our designated speaking slots - 2.30pm on Tues 4th Nov or 11am on Wed 5th Nov. We will be highlighting the popular open source health research tool i2b2 and showing how you can use it to link your own data with other datasets for research using BRISSKit integrations. By combining i2b2 with BRISSKit module(s) for patient cohort management, tissue management and questionnaire tools - all linked through web services - you have a powerful combination for clinical and non clinical research. We will be working with Jisc in the next 6 months to deliver a free Public Cloud i2b2 offer and welcome early adopters who wish to evaluate the tool and platform. Expect announcements soon of another health research hack focussing on this in Feb 2015 and we will be hosting the European i2b2 user community meeting in Leicester in summer 2015 :)

Hope to see some of you at the NEC - Saj Issa, Malcolm Newbury, Daniela Duca and myself will be there in person :) You can stay in touch with us via twitter via @BRISSKit or search #BRISSKit as well as emailing us via


Updated Jisc website for BRISSKit Oct 2014

See the following link for our new Jisc website :)

Content and links will be updated from Oct 2014.

New national investment in BRISSKit for Aug 2014 - Aug 2016!

I am pleased to announce a major new investment of funding from Jisc for August 2014 - August 2016 to build on the work to date and work with Jisc to implement services for researchers across the UK from 2016.

More details soon!

Thanks to our users and collaborators for their continued support :)

Jonathan Tedds

Health And Research Data Informatics (HARDi)
Department of Health Sciences
University of Leicester, UK