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.
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:
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 email@example.com . One can also get in touch directly with Jamie Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Amanda BenDor, Paul Biondich, Carl Fourie, Eden Tarimo, and Jamie Thomas
Organizing an international five-day meeting for a diverse digital health community is no easy task. There are venues to secure, agendas to develop, and invitation letters to draft. Yet the leaders and innovators of the OpenHIE community were driven to ensure that we all had a place where we could gather to get to know and learn from each other about health information exchange.
186 people from approximately 61 organizations around the world took part in the inaugural OpenHIE Community Meeting in Arusha, Tanzania for the five-day event. This meeting provided a unique opportunity for implementers to collaborate and improve their knowledge of OpenHIE, share user stories, and propose new priorities. Government leaders were able to learn from each other about approaches to designing interoperable solutions, as well as governance frameworks that have been applied for health system information exchange.
The organizing committee set out with several objectives for the inaugural meeting. Wanting to be sure to connect implementers and widen the network. Provide a space for community members to share their experiences, harmonize tools, contribute to OpenHIE global goods, and advance conversations and technologies to enable information exchange. As well as provide policy-makers (and those new to the community) a better understanding of OpenHIE and its role in promoting interoperability and systems thinking.
The meeting was officially co-inaugurated by the Tanzanian Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC), Dr. Mpoki Ulisubisya; and PATH President and CEO, Mr. Steve Davis.
In his opening speech, Dr. Mpoki emphasized the following key notes:
Ahead of the meeting, the OpenHIE wiki was updated with sessions that covered four agenda tracks: Leadership and Governance, Facilitating Data Exchange, Standards and Interoperability, and Implementers’ Experiences. However, much of the agenda was intentionally left blank. Why?
OpenHIE wanted this to feel like a community event, creating a forum for people to interact, learn, and share outside of the traditional conference framework. One way of doing this was to facilitate an “unconference” agenda, whereby attendees propose sessions. On the first day of the conference, a board was filled with session topic ideas, ranging from eIDSR to OpenHIE training to the Interoperability Maturity Model. Participants then voted on the sessions they wanted to attend by placing stickers next to session topics on the board. By the first coffee break of the day, the community meeting agenda began to take shape.
“I really enjoyed the new ideas and variety of session organizers during the unconference sessions at the OpenHIE Community Meeting. The unconference sessions were a refreshing mix of new ideas and different approaches sourced directly from digital health leaders across the continent.”
– Wayan Vota, Director of Digital Health, IntraHealth
Over the course of the event there was a great range of sessions covering a multitude of topics. Some strong highlights from the Interoperability and Standards track included the deep interest in how standards are applied to projects. Teams shared their experiences as they undertook the process of designing with standards and patterns in mind too. As well as a fishbowl and Q&A session with OpenHIE team members about how standards and profiles evolve and what it takes to go to a connectathon.
The host country, Tanzania, thoughtfully shared their experience around implementing an HIE and some of the challenges and outputs around that. This level of sharing gave great context to the event site visits too to see some of the HIE in action. There was also interesting input from other countries including South Africa with the African Health Information Exchange initiative and colleagues from Europe as they shared their experiences too.
The work that has been undertaken by Jembi and Intellisoft teams in addressing cross border data exchange was of great interest as well as the technologies and approaches to solving this problem. This level of knowledge sharing shed light on ideas of where HIE’s could be going in the future.
An exciting impromptu development during the event was, true to community and OpenHIE style, an unconference style software and solution showcase. This allowed teams with software and solutions to “grab a laptop”, setup at a table and demonstrate what they had to offer/show to interested members of the community. There was a great deal of interest and additional investment of time by the community for these showcases. This will most definitely be something considered for future events.
These are but a few of the highlights of the week!
Participants at the event, and the OpenHIE community as whole, support system interoperability and information exchange with the ultimate goal of improving health. The belief is that making data easier to access and understand will help health workers, clients, and others in the health ecosystem provide better, faster, and more informed services, from refilling a stock request at a warehouse to accessing a patient’s electronic medical record to consulting before providing care.
As part of the OpenHIE Community Meeting, participants had the opportunity to visit health facilities (10 health facilities) in near Arusha city, Arusha district and Meru district to see the Tanzania Immunization Registry (TImR) implemented by the Better Immunization Data (BID) Initiative which used components of the OpenHIE architecture. Each site visit include no more than 10 people, and provided a demonstration of the immunization registry system in operation at the site. The site visit also highlighted how electronic stock management and the immunization registry make the daily lives of health workers easier. As well as allowing more health workers at multiple facilities access to a patient’s data, giving patients the freedom to travel to the facility most convenient to them for vaccinations.
For those who are unfamiliar with TImR it was introduced in 2016 and has been integrated with the countries Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS) to make up Tanzania’s Electronic Immunization System (EIS). TImR offers the following benefits:
Barcodes used by TImR uniquely identify each client and can also be used to search the immunization registry for returning clients by using a simple handheld barcode scanner, synced with the TImR device. This feature helps healthcare providers to see a high number of clients in a short time. TImR is able to work offline in addition to online, which enables the immunization service to be functional in areas without reliable internet access. Information collected in the offline mode is later transferred to the central server to enable information exchange with other facilities.
If you would like to learn more watch the video below as Walter Michael Ndesanjo with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children discusses the TImR system.
The first OpenHIE Community Meeting was followed by a two day Connectathon/Hackathon. This event provided technical attendees a space to get their hands and minds into some of the deeper points of OpenHIE. The focus was around a set of “challenge groups” that emerged where participants were collaboratively looking at how to address the problems in support of OpenHIE. These groups included “Case Based Surveillance”, GOFFR, ADX on FHIR, OpenHIM (Installation and building mediators) and the “Global Goods on a Box” (which later transitioned to an academy trac).
Teams were encouraged to share experiences, challenge preset ideas, come up with ways to solve problems and very much encouraged to learn. To the last point there was a fantastic introduction session to the basics of FHIR, Docker and other tools that are cross cutting for HIE operations and development.
Aside from the “formal” groups we had many side conversations and projects, including OpenLMIS, some development of prototype mediators for data exchange and other technical conversations where members got to work collaboratively towards an outcome.
Some of the highlights included:
During the transition between the unconference sessions and the connec-a-thon, we reviewed our progress as a community in an open session that allowed us to share lessons learned for future conferences. During these discussions, we committed to regular (yearly) events, each held in the environments we are directly trying to serve. A number of country representatives expressed interest in hosting future events. The comments strongly reinforced the power of coming together for peer learning and consensus building around health information exchange. Some participants expressed pleasant surprise as to how something so seemingly “unorganized” at first glance could be so valuable and educational. The unconference closed with most participants taking working meetings, social time, and meals that lasted long into the late hours of the night.
While OpenHIE has been together virtually as a community for the last 3-5 years, for many of us, this was the first time we’ve ever been able to meet face-to-face as this growing collection of people, organizations, and partnerships. The show of support for this event exceeded all of our expectations. For all of us, it’s mind-blowing as to how much we’ve accomplished given the constraints we all face. OpenHIE, from our eyes, is broadly considered the “go-to” place for work around operationalizing data sharing strategies within constrained environments. This being said OpenHIE will have to continue to quickly transition our community processes from a focus on socializing what we as a community are all about into daily meaningful action for countries trying to practically implement health data sharing architectures. This event was a powerful reinforcement and injection of energy into what we’re trying to accomplish together as a community. All of us are moving forward the many actions we agreed to: establishing new working groups within OpenHIE, engaging the standards development communities in new ways, and making the proceeds of our work more “self service” for countries. Some of us are even planning now for next year’s event! Until then!
On behalf of the entire OpenHIE community, we are excited to announce the inaugural OpenHIE Community Meeting, which will be held July 31 – August 2 at the Mount Meru Hotel and Conference Center in Arusha, Tanzania. A technology-focused Connect-a-Thon will follow the meeting on August 3 – 4.
We intend for these events 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 can’t miss 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.
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/OHIE18
Community Meeting Agenda:
The OpenHIE Community Meeting agenda will feature several tracks, including those specifically for government leaders as well as one for OpenHIE Implementers. Additional tracks for developers will also be included to connect the community meeting with the Connect-a-thon. 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 proposing session ideas.
Following the OpenHIE Community Meeting will be a two-day Connect-a-thon, scheduled for August 3 – 4, 2018, at Mount Meru Hotel. The Connect-a-thon will dive into best practices and standards for interoperability of health tools for use in Low and Middle Income Countries, of which HL7 FHIR and OpenHIE are foundational. More information about the Connect-a-thon is available here: http://ohie.org/OHIE18 .
For more information about Registration, Accommodations, Visa Invitation Letters and other logistics, please visit http://ohie.org/OHIE18
Back in March 2016, the OpenHIE community of practice officially endorsed The Principles for Digital Development, an initiative to take lessons learned in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in development projects and put them into practice. As a values-driven community, it was natural to align with this initiative, given how closely our community aligned with the concepts inherent in the Digital Principles.
As we reflect on our community’s activities for 2016, we are pleased to have many examples of how we advocate and encourage this values-based model, working with countries as they plan, and begin to implement large scale health data sharing architectures.
Design with the User: Many countries are currently in the process, or have completed the publication of a national architecture for health data sharing. We are proud that many of these countries ministries, such as Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and the Philippines are being supported by members of our community. In each case, these architectures are being conceptualized against real world health issues, and the priorities of health leadership. For example, in Nigeria’s recent National Health ICT Strategic Framework, the architecture has been conceptualized against the country’s vision of universal health coverage, and the early operational activities have been prioritized against a collection of real world health data sharing challenges. In Tanzania, members of our community participated in a Gates-funded activity called the Better Immunization Data Initiative. This early work around encouraging better immunization compliance through technology and data sharing was an important precursor that supported their national eHealth architecture plan. In all of these circumstances, countries are designing architectures against real, not perceived needs.
Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation: Throughout the OpenHIE community, we strive to be a potent example of the power of open standards and open content. We are strong ambassadors of open standards, through our partnership with Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), a standards-specification organization which helps to operationalize the use of base syntactic and semantic standards such as HL7, FHIR, ICD, and SNOMED. Many of the country experiences within our community have both validated these standards as viable within resource-constrained environments and encouraged fundamental revisions to them. In some cases, we have even been lead developers of new standards; our work on ADX, and CSD are two prominent examples. We also spend significant energy in developing reference technologies to demonstrate the viability of these standards, and in most cases, these demonstration technologies are made available via liberal open source licenses. But in the spirit of true openness, we also encourage the participation of commercial or proprietary equivalents for these technologies within our larger ecosystem to maximize the potential choices for consumers. Most importantly, we go out of our way to do all of the work of our community out in the open. That has become an obsession for us! New members of our community can learn about most of the previous conversations by reviewing our wiki, our mailing lists (which are archived and available to the public), and through recordings and collaboratively developed minutes to our meetings.
Address Privacy & Security: One of the more challenging aspects of working with countries on data sharing strategies is the need for a highly tailored set of policies and procedures for how to ensure the privacy and security of health data. Each country has unique socio-political dynamics that obligate a deliberate discernment of details around topics such as data ownership, stakeholders, and individual rights. In other words, there is no common boilerplate or approach to addressing privacy and security around health data sharing. This has been a fundamental challenge that has hindered our ability to adequately support countries. In response to this, in 2016, we worked with domain experts within the US and around the world to develop a framework for starting a dialogue with countries, and discerning the aspects of privacy and security that are priority areas of emphasis. “A Global Framework for Health Information Exchange” is a report laying out the framing questions and the concepts which will assist decision-makers in documenting the relevant policies that ensure adequate safeguards for privacy and security. That being said, we are very interested in learning how others have broached these kinds of issues and would benefit greatly from the involvement of others as we work through this challenging topic.
We are proud to be an endorsing organization of the Digital Principles, and look forward to the peer learning opportunities that will come with further active engagement with this initiative in 2017.
OpenHIE is very proud to be a contributor to the 2017 HIMSS Book of the Year: “Health Information Exchange: Navigating and Managing a Network of Health Information Systems” published by Elsevier. We all felt it was important to contribute to this book due to our focus on implementation and interoperability. This book provides a great way for key members of our community to share our implementation guides and place them within the overall conceptual framework of HIE. We were also looking forward to having a physical book available, so this information can be more readily accessible by all.
This book is a significant accomplishment and a huge thank you goes to Brian E. Dixon, PhD from Regenstrief Institute for providing OpenHIE the opportunity to share our knowledge when it comes to addressing the myriad challenges of data exchange.
If you would like to learn more about implementing an HIE, please reach out to the OpenHIE Implementers Network. Anyone can view content posted by this group and anyone can join in the conversation by subscribing here.
You can get your copy of the “Health Information Exchange: Navigating and Managing a Network of Health Information Systems” book here.
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:
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.
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
On 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:
For more information on IHE testing and conformance statements for previous connectathon testing, visit the OpenHIE Integration Statements page on our wiki.