In March of 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.
We announced this endorsement in 2017 in a blog post where we demonstrated how our values aligned with these digital principles, specifically Design with User, Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation, and Address Privacy & Security. This alignment holds true and has even grown in the years since this announcement.
We are proud contributors to the global health space and we believe it’s important to do so in a way that’s consistent with these principles. OpenHIE now endorses these principles as a Silver-Level Endorser of Digital Principles, meaning the OpenHIE community has a culture that values these principles!
We believe these principles are best practices that will continue to advance our community . Here’s a list of the principles that have been crucial in our recent efforts to evolve community understanding of the health information exchange ecosystem:
Design with User
As a community of practice, our work is centered around and driven by the “users.” For OpenHIE, a user means anyone working in or with an interest in the health information exchange landscape. This includes everyone from software engineers to tech organizations to ministry of health officials. OpenHIE is a community surrounding a conceptual architecture model that was developed by community members who have implemented HIE projects. Not only are we designing with the user in mind, the user is also the designer.
Understand the Existing Ecosystem
As countries move from HIE plans to putting implementations into practice, our goal is to create an open dialogue and a framework for peer-learning around real-world implementation activities.
Members of the community work to build connections with implementers across the world to learn more about their HIE projects and where they may need community support or if they can share their experiences with the community through avenues like the Implementers Network.
The community also hosts OpenHIE Implementers Network (OHIN) calls throughout the year to give space for country teams to come share their implementation journeys, find assistance in current activities, and learn from each other. No one implementation is at the same place at the same time and there is much to be learned in order to move work forward.
All OHIN events are open to everyone and provide a forum for implementers to engage with one another, for subject matter experts to learn from real-world experience, and for collaboration with those working in-country. Regularly, we host country teams as they share their plans for HIE, where they are currently in the projects, the challenges they have faced along the way, and what they anticipate for the future of this work. More details about OHIN and access to call details are posted to the community wiki.
As a community of practice, a core tenant to our work is collaboration.
Country teams join OHIN and other community calls to share their implementation journeys, solve HIE challenges, and ask questions of other community members. These community calls take place on a recurring schedule and are led by community members working across HIE topics like registries and conceptual architecture. You can learn more about these communities and how to join the calls on our community Wiki and by joining our mailing list.
In addition to our more regular touchpoints as a community, we also work to host our annual community meeting. This meeting is a conference-style event that is hosted traditionally in-person in order to allow for collaboration on specific topics determined by the participants and in connection to the country hosting the call. We have hosted this call both in-person and virtually to bring everyone together in a more inclusive way. In-person events are hosted by countries that participate in a submission process and this allows attendees unique experiences to make connections, network, and advance their knowledge. All agendas for events are participant driven to provide space for peer learning, collaboration, and creativity.
To learn more about our upcoming virtual event in September 2022, #OHIE22, and for updates on plans for our 2023 event, check out our web page: https://ohie.org/ohie22/.
We strongly support the Principles for Digital Development and encourage their use throughout the community’s efforts.