Author: regen-admin

Last year our OpenHIE (OHIE) community gathered in Tanzania to learn from each other and celebrate each others accomplishments. The inaugural meeting was held in Tanzania where 186 stakeholders, implementers, and subject matter experts from over 60 organizations came together to share stories, learn more about interoperability and collaborate on solutions for health information exchange. We have begun planning for #OHIE19 and are looking for anyone interested in hosting this year’s conference!

If you are interested in hosting the 2019 OpenHIE Community Meeting, please review the following criteria we’ve developed to help ensure success and guide you in the preparations for this event.  The following are by no means requirements, but hopefully will serve as helpful guidance to countries and the community:

  • Significant local OpenHIE community activity, that is, a presence of an ongoing OpenHIE implementation, long-standing community membership etc.
  • Commitment to OpenHIE as a network, regional, or country level architecture.
  • Strong local hosting organization with an ability to engage local resources/sponsorship.
  • Country is interested in supporting the long-term strategic interests of the OpenHIE community.
  • Easy access, that is, good international airport, liberal visa policies (e.g., eVisa or visa on arrival available for visitors from many countries), local transportation.
  • Availability of travel and hotel infrastructure suitable to host the meeting.
  • Provision of good security throughout the conference.
  • Country context aligns with OpenHIE’s mission.
  • Openness/willingness to host OpenHIE site visits.

If interested, please fill in the following INTEREST FORM HERE

We will reach out to those of you that have previously applied to host this event.

If you have any questions, please send an email to support@ohie.org . One can also get in touch directly with Jamie Thomas: jamie@ohie.org

2016ihe.png-largeOn January 25-29 over 1000 health IT professionals gathered in Cleveland, Ohio to participate in the health information technology (HIT) industry’s largest collaboration, testing and education event the IHE North America Connectathon.  This week long event provides developers a forum to advance interoperability for health information systems.

Why does interoperability matter when it comes to the sharing of health information? Interoperability enables interactions between disparate information systems without having to directly connect them through a hard-coded interfaces.  This decoupled approach reduces dependencies and provides the ability to more easily exchange data with other healthcare systems.  To provide interoperability, both semantic and syntactic interoperability need to be addressed.  As we have seen in other industries, standards can be used to help address interoperability.  

IHE standards address syntactic interoperability and provide some support for semantic interoperability. The focus of IHE testing is to ensure message standards are complete and that applications that implement the standards can interoperate. OpenHIE participation in connectathon allows testers and independent monitors to verify that the disparate OpenHIE reference systems can exchange information with other systems via the defined protocols.  

OpenHIE community members came from around the globe to participate in this year’s North American Connectathon event to test standards that support OpenHIE workflows. OpenHIE focused on testing protocols related to:

  • aggregate reporting from a health management information system
  • aggregate reporting from individual case reports
  • the ability to store discrete data in shared health record and produce an on-demand clinical document
  • alert messaging
  • patient registration
  • patient demographic queries

For more information on IHE testing and conformance statements for previous connectathon testing, visit the OpenHIE Integration Statements page on our wiki.  

medinfo

During this weeks MedInfo conference members of the OpenHIE community will be presenting a workshop on “Promoting Effective Health Information Exchange in Developing Environments: An Overview, Tips, and Tactics for Engaging with the OpenHIE Community”.  MedInfo is the premier international health and biomedical informatics event.  This years theme “eHealth-enabled Health”, will bring world leaders in this field together in São Paulo, Brazil to share knowledge and analyze how eHealth and biomedical informatics are contributing to address some of the most challenging problems in health care, public health, consumer health and biomedical research.

Workshops at MedInfo are informative or interactive sessions that address a specific theme or topic in biomedical and health informatics.  During the OpenHIE workshop, we will share three key elements of OpenHIE, including: the OpenHIE technical framework, the OpenHIE community process, and examples of implementations that leverage the OpenHIE initiative.  We will further enable workshop participants to explore those elements through small group dialogue facilitated by OpenHIE community members.  During the closing session participants will  be brought together to help synthesize discussions and provide feedback to the OpenHIE community.

To learn more about OpenHIE’s workshop download our submission paper here.

Pictured: Dr. Richard Gakuba with Holly Ladd mHealth Pioneer Award.

Pictured: Dr. Richard Gakuba with Holly Ladd mHealth Pioneer Award.

The OpenHIE community would like to congratulate Dr. Richard Gakuba, of the Rwanda HIE initiative, for receiving the mHealth Alliance’s Holly Ladd mHealth Pioneer Award. On Monday December 9th, at the 5th annual mHealth Summit, Dr. Gakuba was named the recipient of this year’s award. The Holly Ladd mHealth Pioneer Award recognizes an individual who advances sustainable solutions for personal and community health empowerment through the use of mobile technology.

This award recognizes Dr.Gakuba’s as Rwanda’s National eHealth Coordinator for the Ministry of Health, a role he has held since 2005. His vision has helped to create and implement Rwanda’s national e-Health strategy goal of improving the effectiveness of health care delivery and making services scalable and affordable to Rwanda.

“FHI 360 is honored to support the Holly Ladd mHealth Pioneer Award this year,” said Albert J. Siemens, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of FHI 360. “The award acknowledges Holly’s vision of how communication technology can transform the lives of millions of people around the globe. It celebrates her outstanding leadership and passion that have been an inspiration for so many.” (Quote from www.prweb.com)

One of the more recent eHealth initiatives led by Dr. Gakuba and partners include the Rwanda Health Information Exchange (RHIE) which is the first known electronic, health information exchange in Africa. RHIE is the first implementation of the OpenHIE architecture providing the ability for health centers and hospitals to connect and communicate by sharing patient information through a secure network. RHIE is currently implemented in 11 of 14 health centers in Rwamagana District, specifically focusing on antenatal care. As the final health centers in Rwamagana District and the district hospital are connected, RHIE will expand to include different care services including maternity, HIV, TB, etc.

To read more about the Holly Ladd mHealth Pioneer Award go to www.prweb.com

OpenHIE has dubbed 2013 as “the year of engineering”. This year is of particular significance because it is an opportunity for our OpenHIE subcommunities to collectively focus on the tasks of strengthening our community network of peer support, fostering our approach of open innovation, sustainability, and capacity development, and developing our technological tools such that they are more robust, useful, and better able to scale to a broader variety of countries and situations.

Our community is not simply a collection of technical specifications, but also a strong network of stakeholders who work together to solve problems around health information interoperability. In the “year of engineering”, we want to work towards best positioning ourselves to be effectively leveraged by current and future deployments of OpenHIE. Some of our aims are to define the communication processes and structure of our group, and ensure that our culture is strongly user-centric. A subset of community members will also gather together this year in order to create short, medium, and long term strategies for the OpenHIE community as we continue to grow.

OpenHIE subcommunities will also use “the year of engineering” as a time to enhance their software tools. For some groups, this activity will involve improving the existing software tools selected for or currently in use. Efforts will go towards building out those systems, eliminating their identified limitations, engineering new requirements if necessary, and making sure that the linkages to other OpenHIE efforts are well designed and built. These groups may also invest time to inform and support a standards-based approach for sharing data, which helps consumption of the tools in different contexts.

Other OpenHIE subcommunities have not yet selected a tool for use. For these groups, the “year of engineering” will involve exploration and planning so as to reach consensus on a software, the features it needs, how best to build it, and completing the development of that particular technology. This task may entail leveraging an existing tool and modifying it to meet user needs, or designing and developing a new tool from scratch. By the end of 2013, these subcommunities aim to have a solid base platform which may be extended and iterated on in coming years.

Our vision is for all health systems to be able to leverage a robust, highly-aligned health interoperability ecosystem which forms as a result of the collective activity within the OpenHIE community. Our community of practice, which has been self organized to interactively develop, refine and harden a collection of approaches and freely available standards based technologies, is central to achieving this vision. In 2013, we are collectively focusing on engineering our community to be stronger, more robust and user-centric, and best prepared to be leveraged by implementations for use in current, future, and more demanding environments.

A common question we get is: “What is the OpenHIE initiative about?”  The short answer would be that OpenHIE is about helping resource-constrained environments leverage their electronic health information by standardizing it.  But it’s more involved than that… Free-for-commercial-use-crop

We’re about problem solving

  • Different environments have real and specific needs when it comes to supporting efficient health provision.  Talking through these needs with experts in country allows our community to aid in providing suitable solutions to satisfy the needs.   We’re less about theoretical interoperability, and more concerned with applied interoperability in real health care settings.

We’re about country ownership

  • It is vital that a country not only provide guidance on the design of their interoperability infrastructure but also manages the support of the exchange locally. Those on the ground who see and understand the demands of their healthcare system are the ones who can truly navigate towards real value.  Therefore, our process is about a deeper (and perhaps more deliberate) engagement with individuals who live within countries from the onset, and empowering those communities to champion the cause.

We’re about community

  • Because we’re so engaged with building local capacity and knowhow around large scale interoperability, we find that community-based models of engagement are the most effective way to work.  Our community model develops a virtual online and real-time process for members to network and collaborate on a global scale so we can all work more effectively with the best and the brightest.

We’re about technical excellence

  • Supporting resource-constrained environments doesn’t somehow mean that sacrifices need to be made in quality.  We constantly strive to find the right balance between locally sustained, easily maintained and richly functional technical approaches.  Bringing experts together to share their knowledge enhances the design of high quality adaptable processes and technologies for the most challenging environments.

We’re about standards

  • Serving as active partners with those who create, maintain, and refine open health information standards specifications allows us to design architectures for healthcare data sharing on a global scale.  This also supports plug-and-play interoperability with many kinds of newly evolving technologies over time.

So what’s our approach? OpenHIE is a community of communities.  We have organized various projects involved in standardizing health information into a common, scalable approach that has immediate pragmatic value for a whole host of real world health use cases.  We’ve underpinned this technical approach with a series of experienced implementers of large scale interoperability projects, so that as countries come to our community with expressed needs, we can personalize an engagement strategy that simultaneously meets their immediate needs and further refines the technology and standards support for subsequent members of the community.

Want to learn more?  Do you think we can support your country or project? Fill out our get involved page, we welcome you to to join our community!