OHIE21: Community Connection in a Virtual World

By: Kasey Cummins
Posted On: November 17, 2021

During the first week of October 2021, we hosted the very first OpenHIE Virtual Community Meeting. For the first time since the fall of 2019, we were able to resume our tradition of gathering together as a community, although virtually, to share our experiences and knowledge to continue improving health outcomes in resource-emerging countries. 

The OpenHIE community provides peer support for many stakeholders who support this mission, such as ministries of health and governing bodies, implementers, funders, domain and technical experts, developers, end-users, and standards development organizations. 

To promote the concept that we, community members, can reach and even surpass our goals by working together and pooling our collective skills and lessons learned, the theme for this year’s meeting was Further & Faster Together.

With 348 unique participants across 55 countries, OHIE21 represented the diverse range of perspectives and skills contained in this community over the four-day event. 

flags of 55 countries

With 348 unique participants across 55 countries, OHIE21 represented the diverse range of perspectives and skills contained in this community over the four-day event. 

Participants took part in sharing best practices and proven solutions through collaborative unconference sessions, demos of technical solutions that align with the OpenHIE architecture, and plenary sessions. 

Plenary sessions were particularly unique in that representatives for countries implementing HIE projects sat on a panel on behalf of their home region and were asked questions by community representatives from a different region. These plenary sessions were a great model to showcase how community members from all over the world support each other’s efforts and  bring the voices of countries themselves to the forefront of the event.

ohie21networkimage

Setting Up Goal Posts

While we come together with the overall goal to connect and share insights to continue working towards our mission of improving health outcomes for resource-emerging communities, we contribute to this goal by achieving and identifying many different outcomes. 

A cornerstone of the OpenHIE Annual Community Meeting is the unconference sessions. These are participant-led sessions focusing on specific areas within health information exchange. The topics of these sessions are proposed and driven by community members sharing their insights and perspectives.

screenshot of unconference session ideas in online forum

This year’s topics were:

  • GovStack and OpenHIE
  • Importance of Health Interoperability Lab
  • Taking a Closer Look at Terminology Services
  • How FHIR Can Help Scale Implementation
  • How Lab Information Systems Can Best Support Pandemic?
  • Using HIS to Enhance EMRs
  • AI as a Global Good 
  • Instant OpenHIE: What is it? How can it help your implementation?
  • Managing a Health Worker Registry
  • Capacity Building Needs Around HIE?
  • Common Geographies with FHIR to Support HIE Interoperability
  • COVID: How is OpenHIE Support the Response?
  • Best Practices for Sustaining Open Source Solutions
  • General Techniques for Blocking and Matching
  • What’s a Product Management Catalogue?
  • Patient Identity Management
  • Planning & Saling an HIE
  • Testing and Global Goods
  • Examining OpenHIE Architecture
  • Governance of Registries 
  • Security and HIE

If you’re interested in seeing notes or listening to the recordings from the conversations that happened involving these topics, you can access all of those materials on the event’s Sched page. For any questions or additional insights you would like to share on these topics, you can add those to the threads on these unconference session posts in the Implementers Network space on the community forum.

What’s Next for OpenHIE and OHIE22?

As we work toward the goals that came out of unconference sessions in our community efforts, we will also be making progress towards OHIE22 and other community-wide goals we’ve laid out!

In the State of the Union delivered by community lead, Paul Biondich, he shared many goals that are already in-the-works for this community: 

Throughout this year we also plan to continue growing partnerships with organizations that align with our mission and vision, walk alongside those who are building processes and technology to support health information exchange, engage with countries to learn more about their areas of focus, and strengthen our tools to support peer learning in this community. In addition to these community-wide initiatives, we will also be working towards our next Annual Community Meeting for 2022 in Malawi!

MalawiFlag

In addition to these community-wide initiatives, we will also be working towards our next Annual Community Meeting for 2022 in Malawi! 

If you’re interested in getting updates as we progress through 2022, including details for all upcoming events, we recommend that you sign up for our community mailing list