Impact Stories: Teamwork & Solving Real World Problems

By: Andrew Tanner
Posted On: March 31, 2022

One of our core values at OpenHIE is sharing the “big picture”. We want to showcase the contributions of this growing community to demonstrate the impact of our shared mission. 

The OpenHIE Vision is our dedication to continued positive health outcomes for resource emerging communities. We believe best practices need to be shared in an accessible, open exchange of information and resources, not locked away like hoarded gold. Impact stories take us from theoretical to practical, showing our real world impact. The OpenHIE conceptual architecture continues to act as a guide, helping connect diverse health systems across the world and improving their interoperability.

Please celebrate with us as we recount the amazing progress of the OpenHIE community.

The Stories: Impact

When the 2020 Covid-19 global pandemic mirrored the 2014 Ebola outbreak of West African countries, many African health sectors were left scrambling, trying to get lifesaving information to the frontline healthcare workers managing these viral outbreaks. They needed real-time information that would be understandable to diverse populations with different languages and medical terminology. 

mHero-diagram

mHero, a communication channel solution supported by the OpenHIE architecture and IHE standards, has been helping systemize communication channels across Africa since 2014. They are on the ground, in location, continuing to evolve their model and act as a centralized hub for disparate data in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Kenya and Uganda. They realized that systemized communication was just as necessary outside of health emergencies and pandemics. The mHero system is now being used for announcements, knowledge checks after training, routine data collection, disease surveillance, and refreshers of key messages.

In Tanzania and Zambia, the BID Initiative helped to address stalling immunization rates in children. A collaboration between PATH and the Tanzanian and Zambian governments, the program knew that data managers needed access to reliable, actionable information that accurately addressed the numerous challenges and reasons that families might not be able to access vaccination. The progress has been tremendous – over two million children have been registered in the Electronic Immunization Registry (EIR)! The collaboration accomplished this by integrating the EIR with supply chain information systems and using unique identifiers like barcodes and QR codes to identify patients and track vaccine stocks. There are currently plans to expand in both Zambia and Tanzania. We look forward to their future progress.  

SantéSuite Inc. achieved a goal nearly 6 years in the making – implementation of the Master Patient Index (MPI) in Myanmar. The MPI saw up to 25,000 people pre-registered per day in its first two weeks! The SantéMPI had an initial scope of harmonizing and sharing data across HIV/TB clinics. They expanded by supporting the creation of national health IDs, vaccination registrations, proof of vaccination cards, birth and death registrations and universal health care. The SantéMPI will be a strategic foundation to continue the upperward ripples across all levels of the healthcare systems of Myanmar. 

The Big Picture: Impact

OpenHIE understands that no individual, group or even community’s healthcare needs are exactly the same. The unique needs of resource emerging environments are best addressed by an evolutionary approach that allows customization. Resource emerging communities are able to take what they need, and use that as a base to empower themselves going forward. 

However, that is only half the equation. The other half is teamwork. There is a saying that goes, “teamwork makes the dream work,” meaning that working together in positive collaboration can often achieve things beyond the individual. The common thread through these Impact Stories is people working together to affect a positive shift in health outcomes in their target region. 

The SantéSuite team recognized this in Myanmar, linking stakeholders with understandable clinical use cases to help bring their vision of a Master Patient Index (MPI) to life. The SantéSuite team continued to collaborate with the Ministries of Health to further adapt the MPI to the COVAX (Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access)  emergency response and pre-registration process.The mHero team connected the Ministries of Health in several African nations and their healthcare works in instantaneous two-way communication, fostering teamwork and collaboration. Other African nations took note, and are replicating the communication channels in their own contexts. The Tanzania and Zambia governments are collaborating with their Ministries of Health, PATH and families to achieve their goal of universal access to healthcare and vaccination. 

Teamwork is often our most overlooked, yet most powerful resource. 

How You Can Continue the Impact

We share all our Impact Stories, including ones summarized here, on the OpenHIE Impact Story web page: https://ohie.org/impact-stories/

A pharmacist at a rural clinic in Blantyre, Malawi dispensing medications.

Our OpenHIE secretariat team loves connecting with community members for new Impact Stories. Story ideas can be submitted as drafts in emails (https://ohie.org/contact/), or by filling out our Impact Story questionnaire. Our secretariat team also often reaches out to community members after presentations or events, inviting them to meet remotely in order to gain details and information to craft an Impact Story. There are many ways to get involved and submit your ideas.

Consider submitting an Impact Story! Please fill out this questionnaire or this contact form to connect with the OpenHIE Secretariat team to share more details. We hope to hear from you soon!