The OpenHIE Architecture Community focuses on synthesizing, documenting and promoting standards-based health information exchange patterns. Over the last several years, this team has worked to create IHE profiles and document the OpenHIE Architecture Data Exchange Specifications. In the year ahead, we want to move toward establishing a capability to establish a testing process that demonstrates alignment with the OpenHIE Specification and provides a springboard for implementer testing.
In the past, we have hosted a face-to-face meeting that coincided with the in-person OpenHIE Community Meeting and allowed us to reflect on the past and imagine the future. Due to the pandemic, the Architecture Summit was held virtually on the 4th, 5th, and 8th of February 2021 to allow us to imagine the future of OpenHIE’s architecture together.
“As a new member of the community, it was exciting to see the variety of organizations involved in OpenHIE. It feels like a space with truly different stakeholders working in partnership.” – Taylor Downs, OpenFN Founder and Head of Product
Through the 50 attendees from 16 different countries, the summit successfully engaged a diverse set of voices in shaping the future of the OpenHIE Architecture and the ability to support implementers of the architecture and its components.
While the past in-person versions of this meeting lead to great amounts of conversational flow and connection – the virtual format brought some new highlights that wouldn’t have been possible before. Larger attendance and increased flexibility for these participants were anticipated benefits of moving online. However, the planning team was also delightfully surprised by the increased level of input by participants, newcomers sharing their varied experiences, and the level of collaboration through breakout rooms and interactive online whiteboards. These surprises were delightful because there is an assumption in transitioning an event to an online environment that attendance will raise while engagement declines – but it was the case that we had an increase of participants join the call and actively participate in the work. What a win for the OpenHIE community!
As a direct result of this collaboration and in-depth discussions, we were able to draw out 10 action items for the community on the topics of the Specification, testing, training, Instant OpenHIE, connectathons, and increasing engagement – 22 people signed up to work towards these goals. Some of this work has already started!
“It was great to have space to contribute to these important projects that aren’t necessarily on everyone’s minds.”
We are inspired by the discussion and ideas generated at this summit and are looking forward to using the diverse input to shape the work of the community this year and beyond. We hope the next summit can coincide with a face-to-face meeting, though we have certainly seen the benefits of the virtual environment and will look for ways to add that into planning efforts.
In the meantime, you can contribute to the goals established from this meeting by attending one or more Architecture meetings or reaching out to and share what interests you, ideas you have for the community, and resources to help us reach our goals on our community forum!
For details on this summit and the goals that were established, check out this homepage.
We are starting this new year on a hopeful note due to the consistent dedication of community members who used their skills to provide aid in the pandemic and others who continue their strong efforts to the mission we all share, to improve the health of the underserved through the open, collaborative development and support of country driven, large scale health information sharing architectures.
In this blog, we will summarize work that happened throughout 2020 and share what is coming in 2021. We have a lot on our to-do list for this year and you are a vital part of our success!
While 2020 brought many challenges, OpenHIE community members stepped up to continue pushing towards collaboration in a totally virtual environment.
Last year we saw the continued efforts to grow our community of practice both in scope and membership participation.
The COVID-19 Task Force formed in April 2020 in response to the interoperability and data sharing needs of the global community. This team meets weekly and their notes, upcoming meeting dates, and connection information are saved on this page of the wiki for those interested in participating or learning from this work. Their focus is currently shifting to also incorporate case reporting into their work.
In 2021 the OpenHIE community is looking to focus on four key areas; standards setting, learning / capacity development, implementation support, and building community. Here are a few examples of activities we have planned for members to focus.
There will be a continued effort to provide the opportunity to share stories of health impact in local communities through the use of OpenHIE’s architecture. As a community of practice focused on improving health through information exchange we want to recognize the advancements countries and implementers have made when it comes to eHealth strategy
Stay tuned for the launch of our new website where impact stories will be showcased. Have a story to share? We are always looking for more of these stories – we hope you’ll share yours on this questionnaire.
This year we will be expanding and developing tools to add clarity and to simplify the use of the OpenHIE architecture.
We are very excited to announce the ways are community is growing in both numbers and reach:
We are taking a proactive approach to update the OpenHIE community of new initiatives and upcoming meetings – below are some of the mediums we’re hoping will help to keep you informed.
In addition to these exciting initiatives, we know there will be much more we can expect to see come out of 2021 and we hope you’ll join us along the way! #WeAreOHIE
Guest Contributor: Daniel Futerman, Jembi Health Systems
Jembi Health Systems is an African non-profit organization with extensive experience in the fields of interoperability, digital health, and health system strengthening. As an OpenHIE partner organization, Jembi contributes a broad set of technical and operational skills across various communities in the OpenHIE initiative; covering design, development, technical architecture, community management, and development of reference technologies.
Jembi believes that robust health systems and sharing information will advance global health. This organization is rooted in Africa and their ultimate goal is better healthcare for all people.
The following are some core strategies toward their goal:
At the centre Jembi’s work is providing value to end-users. Once there is a clear value to their work-lives, users embrace new technology. If health practitioners see the benefits, this organization captures richer and more useful data – helping end-users, funders, and ministries. In the end, this serves Jembi’s shared goal of better health outcomes for all people.
Our work in interoperability and health information exchange began with involvement in the Rwanda Health Enterprise Architecture (RHEA) project and development of the Rwanda Health Information Exchange (RHIE), one of the first implementations of the OpenHIE Architecture.
Jembi has developed several OpenHIE Interoperability Layer (IOL) and Shared Health Record (SHR) reference technologies including the OpenHIM and OpenSHR, as well as continued development of emerging tools such as Instant OpenHIE, which aims to create a deployable, preconfigured reference version of the OpenHIE architecture, allowing users to illustrate how interoperability can work to solve real world use cases and health challenges.
Jembi has been a longstanding advocate for OpenHIE, and currently leads the joint IOL / SHR community, supports the OpenHIE Implementers Network community, and works with the architecture, devops and leads communities to help move the OpenHIE roadmap and vision forward.
Jembi has been working with the Health Financing towards UHC community to support documentation of workflows and architecture and the integration of Health Financing into the OpenHIE architecture, the OpenHIE Academy community to support the development of OpenHIE training curriculums and materials, and has supported the coordination and planning of the OpenHIE Community Meetings and conducting the Hackonnect-a-thon.
In South Africa, Jembi has been part of the African Health Information Exchange (AHIE) consortium, developed over the past three years in partnership with UCT-CIDER and other organisations, supporting the development and national scale-up of the South African unique health identifier, developed and matured interoperability solutions to promote timely integration of data from existing HIV clinical systems such as TIER. Net and laboratory information systems, and supporting development of a consolidated data environment for all health data, including for HIV and TB services.
In Mozambique, Jembi partners with the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) and the national MoH to strengthen local capacity in the HIS and eHealth, in partnerships that span the public, private and academic sectors, through over 20 active projects, offices and a living lab in Maputo.
Jembi also works regionally in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Cameroon, Rwanda, South Sudan and Lesotho providing technical assistance and contributing to improving healthcare services and health systems by developing and implementing appropriate, custom HIS and Health Information Exchange services to address country needs.
Is your team interested in becoming an OpenHIE Partner Organization? Check out our partnership policy to see our current partners, our expectations, and how to get started!
During the OpenHIE 2019 Community Meeting in Ethiopia, “The Academy” was offered as “in person” courses that provided participants with the essential history, concepts, and competencies to understand the role of OpenHIE as a health information exchange and how to utilize the architecture to enhance data for decision making at all levels of the health system. These courses were well-received at the community meeting, so our community management, leadership, and Academy subcommunity team went to work to figure out a way to offer this style of continuing education beyond one week a year – and now we are excited to launch the online e-learning tool to address information gaps about OpenHIE, the architecture, health information exchange topics, and MORE! We call this tool, the Academy.
The Academy is now available with 2 full courses of content*, ready for users to sign in with their OpenHIE ID (also Discourse or Wiki credentials) and begin moving through the modules. The courses include videos (with English closed captioning), additional resources on topics, and evaluations. Upon completing the course and passing the quiz by at least 80%, users will receive a personalized certificate of completion on the course as a printable and downloadable PDF.
Follow this link to begin your journey with the academy by logging in and starting your first course!
Courses are continuing to be created by the Academy Community on the following topics:
Additional topics and advanced courses are in the works for further out in the future, being planned and later created by members of the community. A special THANK YOU to community members who have participated in the Academy subcommunity to help get OpenHIE Academy launched and document courses to help elevate knowledge around health information exchange: Dr. Araya Abrha, Stella Badmus, Michelle Cox, Dr. Terry Cullen, Kasey Cummins, April Currier, Daniel Futerman, Tesfit Gebremeskel, Peter Imrie, Haftamu Kebede, Sri Maurya Kummamuru, Jodi Lis, Clint Rusk, Jennifer Shivers, Jamie Thomas, and Samson Yohannes.
Who will you share these courses with? What are some courses you would like to see? Have ideas on future topics that should be covered? Be sure to share your thoughts with us on Discourse!
*As new courses become available we will update this section with new course details:
- Interoperability course available as of February 18, 2021
- LOINC Concepts and Uses course available as of February 18, 2021
After consulting with several organizations and individuals deeply involved with OpenHIE, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 OpenHIE Community Meeting in Malawi due to numerous concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel circumstances. This year’s event was scheduled to be held in October 2020 but taking into consideration the safety and health of the Lilongwe community, the host country, and our entire dedicated community, we are postponing the event until 2021.
Malawi participated in a competitive process to hold this year’s event and remains excited to host the 2021 Community Meeting. As the situation with the pandemic becomes clearer, we look forward to continuing the planning of a face-to-face meeting with the Malawi team. Community events are rewarding and we do great things whenever we come together. With this spirit in mind, we are looking at ways of bringing aspects of OpenHIE Community Meetings into virtual community events over the next year in order to stay connected and support the great work people are doing to advance health information exchange.
Please let us know what type of virtual meeting or training you would like to see this year in place of our usual Community Meeting.
Our deepest sympathies go out to all of those around the world affected by this virus. Now more than ever, it has become apparent how connected we truly are and driven home the importance of health care systems and infrastructure. We are in this together. As always, thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you all in Malawi in 2021! #WeAreOHIE
Further updates around the OpenHIE Community Meeting will be found on our website at https://ohie.org/meetings.
By: Dr. Araya Abrha Medhanyie, Benti Ejeta, Carl Fourie, Dana Acciavatti, Daniel Futerman, Jamie Thomas, Jennifer Shivers, Paul Biondich
In November of 2019, the OpenHIE community held its second Community Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting occurred from November 4-8th and was held at the Hyatt Regency. With over 220 participants from 25 countries and representing 71 organizations this year’s meeting was quite an experience for our emerging community of practice. Established in 2013, OpenHIE is a community of practice focused on using standards to provide better health information exchange in the digital age. This year’s Community Meeting was particularly exciting because planning for the event involved incorporating community member requests shared during our inaugural event held in Tanzania in 2018.
Participants of the OpenHIE community of practice are dedicated to improving the health of the underserved through open and collaborative, development and support of country driven, large scale health information sharing architectures. Thus we;
OpenHIE Community Meetings provide an opportunity for government officials, implementers, and tech developers who participate in our community of practice to come together to connect and learn from each others shared experiences. Solutions to common problems are identified quickly when people engage in face-to-face discussions over a week long event.
The Architecture Community face-to-face (F2F) was a pre-meeting hosted on Sunday, November 3rd. The purpose was to bring together OpenHIE’s Architecture community to review the current state of the OpenHIE architecture, identify current and upcoming needs, and discuss strategies for advancing priority areas that have not yet been addressed virtually. Hosting the F2F as an open meeting allowed anyone interested to engage and get a sense of the aspects and engagement strategies of the OpenHIE Architecture community. With a sense of “reunion” and a spirit of “let’s get things moving” the attendees were excited to engage and advance topics into actionable items.
The discussion centered around OpenHIE testing, reference software, FHIR and an engagement strategy. The meeting resulted in gathering information for the OpenHIE Architecture community roadmap for 2020. Items that will be addressed in 2020 include:
The OpenHIE Academy was the first time introductory courses around OpenHIE have been offered. The Academy took place prior to the start of the general meeting and was created in response to direct feedback from community members to offer sessions that provide foundational knowledge into OpenHIE concepts and background, so that those new to the Community go into the week with shared vocabulary and context.
Intro courses provided essential history, concepts, and competencies to understand the role of OpenHIE as a health information exchange and how to utilize the architecture to enhance data for decision making at all levels of the health system. The Academy was sponsored by Mekelle University College of Health Sciences, whose faculty were engaged in the planning process and as course facilitators, along with subject matter experts from the global community.
Intro Courses offered to event participants;
With many of the attendees having been at the Academy, the room was filled with excitement and anticipation of the formal conference to get underway. Dr. Yekoyesew Worku the Minister of Health’s Chief of Staff opened the event. Director General Dr. Yekoyesew Worku noted that Ethiopia is undertaking massive initiatives to digitize health information and its systems to transform the quality and use of data for informed decisions.
Hibret Alemu, Data Use Partnership’s Project Director presented Ethiopia’s Health Sector Status. Alemu represented on behalf of Mrs. Biruk Abate, Director of Policy Plan Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate Director. Alemu reported births attended in a facility increased from 5% in 2005 to 48% in 2019. He attributed this gain to the ministry’s commitment to building different health information management systems which play a significant role in enhancing data quality and use.
Each OpenHIE Community Meeting incorporates “unconference” sessions, allowing participants to determine portions of the agenda. The goal of having some predetermined sessions and unconference sessions is to ensure community members get what they need from the conference and enable time for relevant discussions. This innovative approach of unconferencing has been applied at conferences in the technology sector (e.g. Google, OpenMRS) and has been well received as an approach to customize a conference to meet the peer-to-peer learning goals of participants.
This year OpenHIE tried to improve upon this format by the collection of unconference session suggestions from community members ahead of the OpenHIE Community Meeting. Suggested topics were then posted on the OpenHIE wiki for other community members to view and vote on if they also were interested in the topic. The goal of this approach was to better understand what community members were hoping to hear about and share with each other at the event. Overall this approach was a success as the planning team was able to group together similar topics, connect individuals with similar interests and make sure there was space in the agenda for pressing topics of interest.
An exciting occurrence at this year’s OpenHIE Community meeting was the openIMIS Developers Workshop running in parallel. The GIZ team and the broader openIMIS developer community worked with the OpenHIE organizing team early on through the planning of the event to take advantage of the audience and the opportunities of shared learnings. The side event saw the openIMIS developers working on and showcasing the health insurance software. Excitingly some of the data exchange projects of data flowing from OpenMRS/Bahmni to openIMIS to administer health insurance claims data; as well as data flowing to DHIS2 to make use of the analytics aspects. The openIMIS community also contributed some of their design thinking and workflows to the OpenHIE Health Finance towards universal health coverage community (UHC) as a base to start refining the UHC communities thinking about workflows relating to health insurance.
The OpenHIE Hackonnect-a-thon brings together two exciting types of meetings. It combines the principles of a connectathon and a hackathon to provide a space for teams to connect their existing tools to OpenHIE workflows and components, and support new data exchange use cases. Each year we as a community learn a little more on how we engage at the technical events.
This year, a range of technical challenges and topics were proposed, covering both country and community priorities. The proceedings began with a high-level overview of each proposed topic, after which attendees self-organised into smaller working groups to focus on particular interoperability challenges, including:
The teams worked throughout the day to produce several working prototypes, new and revised sets of documented workflows, and the starting points for continued efforts on existing projects and initiatives. In the day’s recap, participants made the suggestion to extend the event to include an additional day of hacking, and dedicated time beforehand to better establish topics and teams before kicking off proceedings on the day.
Over the last year the OpenHIE community has been able to establish new workgroups within OpenHIE around supply chain and health financing. We’ve also improved engagement with standards development communities, and sharing the proceeds of our work to provide more “self service” for countries.
While in the early years of our community of practice, we were focused on building consensus around our vision for health information exchange. Then over the last few years we have been working to support planning and adoption of eHealth architecture. Now as we go into the next phase for OpenHIE we are focused on how to better support ministries of health and implementation of architecture to provide patients with better care. Our hope for the community is it will continue to grow by providing a place for people to connect and share knowledge around HIE solutions. Here are some areas of focus for 2020:
2020 is a big year for OpenHIE and we are very excited to see our vision continue to spread and bring growth to the community. Details around this years meeting in Malawi will be coming out soon and we look forward to having you join us #WeAreOHIE!
Also, if your country is interested in bringing collaboration around HIE to your country please see how to apply now for our 2021 OpenHIE Community Meeting on our blog.
For the last two years our OpenHIE (OHIE) community has gathered to learn from one another and to celebrate each others’ accomplishments. In 2018, at our inaugural meeting in Tanzania, 186 stakeholders, implementers, and subject matter experts from over 60 organizations came together to share stories, learn more about interoperability, and to collaborate on solutions for health information exchange. In 2019 more than 220 participants representing 71 organizations from 25 countries were hosted by the Ethiopia Ministry of Health to learn about and discuss how to better utilize OpenHIE’s architecture to enhance data for decision making. Later this year, Malawi will host our 3rd annual OpenHIE Community Meeting in Lilongwe. Get information as it becomes available by following @OpenHIE on Twitter.
One goal of #OHIE20 in Malawi is to announce the location of #OHIE21 so we are looking for those interested in hosting the 2021 event! If you are interested in hosting the 2021 OpenHIE Community Meeting, please review the following criteria developed to help ensure success for the host country in their preparations for this event. The following are not requirements, but are considerations outlined to serve as general guidelines to countries and the OpenHIE community:
If interested, please fill in the following INTEREST FORM HERE
If you have any questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact our Community Manager Jamie Thomas directly at email@example.com
The application deadline is: 19 April 2019 by 11:59 pm in the applicants time zone.
The OpenHIE community has expressed an interest in using a more collaborative platform to share knowledge and network. After looking at different tools we’ve chosen Discourse and been working to stand up a customized version of the platform to meet our community’s needs.
Some of you may be aware (or already be using Discourse – https://discourse.ohie.org) but for those who are not familiar with the platform here is a little taste of what it can do for our community.
To see another instance of Discourse in action, check out https://talk.openmrs.org/categories and see how OpenMRS is using it to bring developers, implementers, and users together.
To see how OpenHIE’s new community site is set up, check out https://discourse.ohie.org and start testing out the new categories. We want to hear your feedback on how you think the site looks so far so under the “Site Feedback” category please post questions about the site, its organization, how it’s working for you and how it could be improved.
The plan is to put the current OpenHIE mailing lists in read-only mode over the next few weeks and as you will see old posts from the various mailing lists have already been moved to a “Legacy” category so you can claim/own your old posts and we can start recognizing major contributors immediately!
The aim is to migrate to https://discourse.ohie.org completely by mid December, with the official closing of mailing lists and launch of the new site on December 13th.
The OpenHIE Architecture Specification Version 2.0 is now available from the OpenHIE web site.
OpenHIE is a Global Mission-Driven Community of Practice dedicated to improving the health of the underserved through open and collaborative, development and support of country driven, large scale health information sharing architectures. The OpenHIE community supports interoperability by creating a reusable architectural framework that introduces a service oriented approach, maximally leverages health information standards, enables flexible implementation by country partners, and supports interchangeability of individual components.
The newest OpenHIE Architecture Specification outlines the reusable architectural framework and data exchange practices that constitute OpenHIE. However, the framework is intended to be constantly evolving as standards and implementer needs change over time. Therefore the OpenHIE Architecture Specification is a living document created by the OpenHIE Community and based upon real-world implementations and needs.
The purpose of the specification release is to:
We believe that diverse input and viewpoints make the architecture stronger. You are encouraged to provide comments, propose edits, or other suggestions for future specification versions on our feedback page. If you have questions or need help unrelated to this guide, please contact us. In addition, the OpenHIE Architecture Community invites your collaborative input as we move forward together. Please join us in this journey of establishing data exchange practices and patterns. Our meeting schedule is posted on the OpenHIE wiki.
Written By: Jennifer Shivers, OpenHIE Associate Architect
On behalf of the entire OpenHIE community, we are excited to announce the 2nd OpenHIE Community Meeting focused on improving the use of data, which will be held November 4-8 at the Hyatt Regency in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Concurrent with this event will be an OpenHIE Academy, that will provide training and lessons learned to help guide design and implementation of health information architectures, standards and exchanges. Stay tuned for more details about the agenda and how to book your hotel room.
OpenHIE community meetings are intended to directly support countries as they grapple with the many challenges inherent in driving large-scale health information-sharing architectures. We invite government officials, and the implementers and developers seeking to support them, to participate in this event. This meeting will be an amazing opportunity for peer mentorship, where strategies and approaches to empower pragmatic, standardized, and sustainable health information sharing are shared. It’s also a great chance to network and share your current and future plans.
We look forward to seeing you in November!
Who should attend?
Why you should attend!
This event provides a unique opportunity for implementers to collaborate and improve their knowledge of OpenHIE, share needs, and propose new priorities. Additionally, government leaders will gather and share approaches to plan for and design interoperable solutions. For more details, please visit http://ohie.org/OHIE19
Community Meeting Agenda:
The OpenHIE Community Meeting agenda will feature several tracks, including those specifically geared toward government leaders as well as one for OpenHIE Implementers. Additional tracks for developers will also be included to connect the community meeting with the OpenHIE Academy. In additional to these pre-arranged sessions, the agenda will have several open “unconference” sessions where community members will propose presentations on topics relevant to their OpenHIE implementations. Stay tuned for more details on ways to propose session ideas.
More information about Registration, Accommodations, Visa Invitation Letters and other logistics will be communicated/released over the next few months. Please watch http://ohie.org/OHIE19 for new details.