OpenMRS at the GDHF 2022 (Global Digital Health Forum)

Dear Community, Last week was the 2022 Global Digital Health Forum, where Global Goods leaders, funders, implementers, and Ministry of Health Digital Teams come together to share recent Digital Health work and industry strategies/trends. @jennifer, myself, @janflowers and @paul worked hard to share information about our OpenMRS community, and to learn information that might be helpful to our community. I’d like to share with you all some of the presentations we supported, and some that had valuable, relevant information.

In-Person sessions with OpenMRS

Avoiding Tragedy of the Commons: Open Source Governance Models

  • @jennifer on a panel with Dimagi and OpenFN, where each shared how their Global Good’s governance model works, especially regarding Open Source community. Each was very different!
  • Recording: Here; you just have to sign up for a free “virtual” attendee account.

Optimizing Electronic Health Record Design, Implementation and Evaluation: Useful Toolkits from the Technical Assistance Platform - by @beth, @jennifer, & @janflowers

  • No recording available but details available at the link.

Virtual Sessions with OpenMRS

The Impact of Embedding User Experience Design: Practical results and ROI when modern design thinking is central to Global Goods development

  • A Panel from 4 global goods about how each community is leveraging UX & design thinking. Since OpenMRS is still relatively new to our Design Thinking journey, it was very interesting to see how Medic Mobile, Ona, and OCL handle their UX/design processes.

OpenMRS and Climate Change: Our big 5 strategic responses

  • The only session at GDHF about climate change! We walk through how the rise of Disease, Disasters, and Displacement should be impacting our thinking in the Global Goods industry.

Other Panels of Interest

Some talks I personally found interesting & relevant to our community:

  • PEPFAR Plenary: Strengthening National Digital Health Ecosystems to Monitor and Maintain HIV Epidemic Control

    • PEPFAR & WHO leads, and our own @paul on behalf of the Data Use Community, share how PEPFAR’s strategy is shifting to focus more on country-owned, country Ministry of Health approved tooling, rather than funder-pushed/pilot-level tooling, acknowledging that this old approach can create an overly complex and fractured digital ecosystem in-country.
    • My takeaway for OpenMRS: Continue and increase our focus on how we empower Ministries and align with their national Digital Health strategies.
  • Implementing WHO-SMART guidelines- Digital Adaptation Kits: Early lessons from country level experiences

    • The WHO SMART team were there in person, along with their 3 people who have been working with country stakeholders in Zambia, Ghana, and Ethiopia to achieve buy-in and content reconciliation with the SMART guidelines. I hadn’t realized there were already content conversations happening in 3+ countries. The 3 country liasons found that 60-80% of the ANC DAK content they reviewed with country decision makers already existed in the materials the countries were using. So that’s positive, but the content review process is line-by-line, one-at-a-time review of DAK spreadsheet content, which takes a ton of time. We suggested fuzzy-matching tooling could help make it faster for countries to compare/contrast SMART content with their existing concepts, indicators, and form questions/answers.
    • My takeaway for OpenMRS: there is greater chance of demand from countries to leverage our ongoing ANC DAK work on the CQL Engine to run and display these rules and results. (so keep up the good work @dkayiwa!!) It also seems OpenMRS is a thought-leader around the importance of terminology as an unlocker for SMART-style work, since our consistent technical finding thus far both in our recent ANC DAK work and in our multi-year FHIR Squad has been that FHIR alone does not replace the need for central terminology management. Both are needed. We can help our industry to understand this, e.g. through our ongoing teamwork with the @OpenConceptLab team.
  • Conformance Testing of Digital Health Tools and the WHO Digital Clearinghouse

    • WHO and Digital Square are planning something like a Certification for Global Goods. They’re imagining 3 levels: the lowest level requires a written application saying your Global Good conforms to a number of things; the top level (Level 3) also requires technical confirmation/tested proof of things like ability to ingest FHIR IGs to implement SMART guidelines (@suruchi @dkayiwa this made me grateful for our work on the ANC DAK!), and proof of extensive audit logging and core security.
    • My takeaway for OpenMRS: We’re on the right strategic track with our work on SMART and FHIR IGs. Audit logging and core security should probably be bigger core focuses in 2023 but we’ll probably need to find funding to support stewarding these. We can also help WHO and Digital Square by sharing our feedback as they develop the certification requirements.
  • Bringing WHO SMART Guidelines to life through FHIR-native digital apps

    • Ona shared how they recently replaced their entire backend & data model for OpenSRP with HAPI FHIR, and it’s been going well. They’d like to see more global goods doing this to reduce duplicated backend maintenance efforts in the industry.
    • Google Health shared their vision for leveraging FHIR to enable both easier data extraction for analytics and for faster health app building on their new Android FHIR SDK.
    • My takeaway for OpenMRS: I think our FHIR API strategy (which gives us basically a translation layer btwn the OMRS data model and FHIR) is still the right strategy for now, but we should watch how this HAPI-FHIR approach works out for other global goods.

Curious to hear from others who attended in person or online like @jennifer @janflowers @paul @akanter @wanyee - what were some of your key takeaways?