This week I was in Washington DC for the inaugural FHIR terminology services connectathon. This was the first of its kind: a connectathon focused on the terminology services portion of the FHIR specification.
The following organizations were represented:
The focus of the connectathon was on the two simplest operations in the terminology services API:
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.
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…|
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!