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The OpenHIE Meet-Up on Wednesday, December 14 at the
Global Digital Health Forum had two simple goals:

One, to gather those working in different components and areas of OpenHIE’s architecture – or at least those working in health information systems – to explain some of the technical challenges they are facing.

Secondly, to find areas of collaboration with other participants to help solve these challenges.

We knew no challenges would be solved at the short breakfast meeting. But simply connecting the more than 20 participants from a variety of implementing groups provided an opportunity to strengthen the community built around OpenHIE.

IntraHealth International organized the meeting as an un-conference, which put the responsibility on the attendees to provide topics and lead discussions in a collaborative and open fashion. A number of people proposed discussion topics, and in the end, four participants initiated separate discussions:

  • Carl Leitner of IntraHealth led an introduction to OpenHIE
  • Alvin Marcelo of AeHIN discussed the history, lessons learned and next steps in the Asia eHealth Network.
  • Niamh Darcy of RTI International hosted a talk on expanding knowledge of OpenHIE in sub-Saharan African and expressively collaborating with the group Health Informatics in Africa (HELINA).
  • Brian Taliesin of PATH spearheaded a conversation on harmonizing OpenHIE registries with other registries used by the supply chain profession.

Paul Biondich of Regenstrief Institute opened the meeting with a short welcome. Afterwards, attendees were invited to join the table of their choosing. In un-conference fashion, attendees were reminded they could participate as much as they liked, but the higher amount of participation would increase the quality of discussions.

Here are a few highlights of the discussions.alvin

Intro to OpenHIE: A wide ranging discussion, filled with OpenHIE novices and experts, covered the main components of OpenHIE and the fundamentals of its community. Members from teams working in two South American countries were in attendance, signaling interest in a region without much OpenHIE activity.

Expanding knowledge of OpenHIE in Sub-Saharan Africa:  Anecdotal evidence shows that many eHealth practitioners working in Africa lack comfortability of talking about OpenHIE with their peers. The table discussed a few methods to increase knowledge and confidence, including study tours (where informatics professionals in one country travel to another country to discuss OpenHIE planning, performance and lessons learned) and creating a regional task force to increase training and dialog around OpenHIE. Increasing the amount of OpenHIE toolkit documentation was also discussed. A push to speak about OpenHIE use cases at the upcoming HELINA conference on April 23 to 26, 2017 in Burundi.

AeHIN history, processes used, next steps:  Alvin Marcelo provided an overview of AeHIN and some lessons learned as the network has expanded. He overviewed the process AeHIN uses for assisting governments in South and Southeast Asia in the development of their health information systems and described both what is needed to continue to provide this support and AeHIN’s vision for the future.

OpenHIE Registries and Supply Chain Management: The conversation centered on aligning registries used by the health system and health care delivery with those used by supply chain practitioners. The link between young children and vaccine transactions is one example: Once a baby is born, she will appear in a health care delivery registry (like DHIS2) and a vaccine registry. Could the young child’s clinic record be leveraged for supply chain databases? Discussions also took place about attempting to align locations (of health centers) within a facility database with those used by supply chain registries.
After nearly one hour of conversation, each table reported out their findings and next steps. Business cards and contact information were exchanged along with promises to keep in touch and move the discussion to the next level. The participants then went off to join the final day of the Global Digital Health Forum.

Post by: John Liebhardt