“Write Code! Save Lives!” OpenMRS Meet in Malawi Shows the Way

More recently, I attended the 12th annual International OpenMRS Implementers’ Conference in the capital city of Malawi, Lilongwe, from Dec. 12 to 16, 2017. At this annual event, volunteers, developers and implementers came together to talk about all things OpenMRS and develop strategies for the evolution and applications of the software....Meeting this determined and committed community has boosted my drive and sense of purpose for writing code. I feel like this is the kind of project that I can contribute code to for many years to come. At the conference, I was reminded of a common Global Health Corps saying: “Once a fellow, always a fellow!”

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Healthcare's Death Star Thinking vs. Human Centered Design

I missed it when it first came out, but a providential tweet from the always perceptive Steve Downs tipped me to a most interesting article from Jennifer Pahlka with the wonderful title “Death Star Thinking and Government Reform.” The article is not directly related to healthcare, although it does include healthcare examples, but Ms. Pahlka’s central point very much applies to most efforts to reform healthcare: The need to believe that a Death Star-style solution is at hand — that we have analyzed the plans and found the single point of failure — runs deep in our culture.

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Report on the Global OpenMRS Community Meeting in Malawi - Towards Evidence Based Health Service Delivery and Interoperability

One hundred seventy five members of the worldwide OpenMRS community–representing 20 countries–met in Malawi this past December for the 2017 OpenMRS Implementers’ Conference. This event was the second consecutive year a national government sponsored this global meetup, with Uganda hosting and sponsoring this meeting the previous year. The December conference was hosted by Malawi’s Ministry of Health and key-noted by ministry officials and leaders such Maganizo Monawe, Senior HIS Technical Advisor; and Anthony Muyepa, Director General at National Commission for Science and Technology.

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HIMSS 18 and the Disruption of the Traditional Office Visit

Healthcare is evolving quickly and HIMSS 18 offers a broad range of healthcare issues to explore, but will it recognize the disruption of the traditional office visit? New requirements for implementing HIT systems are changing as new health IT priorities and procedures emerge. Convergence in the health care sector is accelerating the need for interoperability, not just for EHRs, but also across clinical, financial, and operational systems. This need is also challenging and changing one of the biggest traditions in healthcare—the doctor-patient medical visit. 

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The Heritage and Legacy of M (MUMPS) – and the Future of YottaDB

In computing, the term legacy system has come to mean an application or a technology originally crafted decades ago, one important to the success of an enterprise, and which at least some people consider obsolete. But age alone does not make something obsolete – we still read and appreciate Shakespeare a half-millenium after his death, and paper clips from over 100 years ago are still familiar to us today, We must recognize that software is also part of our technical and cultural heritage (see Software Heritage). As in much else in our daily lives, legacy and heritage are intertwined.

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A Better Marketing Plan for Your Open Source Software Project

OSS marketing has evolved since the emergence of OSS in the 1990s and early 2000s. It now includes the community at every step of the life cycle (a fact that shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with open source communities’ expectations for inclusivity). It also outperforms traditional command-and-control approaches to marketing, because it’s built on the strength and reach of project communities. A community that’s bought into a marketing program will generate far more content than a marketing team alone can. We aim here to describe a process for inclusive marketing that any technology marketer can apply to increase impact.

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8 open source drone projects

Over the past few years, interest in civilian, military, and commercial drones has grown rapidly, which has also driven the maker community's interest in open source drone projects. The list of unmanned aerial devices (UAVs) that fit the moniker of drone seems to be constantly expanding. These days, the term seems to encompass everything from what is essentially a cheap, multi-bladed toy helicopter, all the way up to custom-built soaring machines with incredibly adept artificial intelligence capabilities. Most people are looking for something in the middle. They'd like a flying vehicle that is large enough to support a decently long flight time, hold a camera or other data capture device, and perhaps be able to control some (or all) of its flight autonomously using pre-programmed coordinates or real-time data.

Approaches for Immunization Information System (IIS) Project Collaboration with HIE Networks

We have written in a previous policy white paper about collaboration between Immunization Information System (IIS) projects and Health Information Exchange (HIE) networks, and a second more technical white paper about options for interoperability between IIS and electronic health record (EHR) systems. We described a range of interoperability options for EHR users and IIS and the strengths and challenges of each alternative...

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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Bias has Dangerous Implications

Algorithms are everywhere in our world, and so is bias. From social media news feeds to streaming service recommendations to online shopping, computer algorithms—specifically, machine learning algorithms—have permeated our day-to-day world. As for bias, we need only examine the 2016 American election to understand how deeply—both implicitly and explicitly—it permeates our society as well. What’s often overlooked, however, is the intersection between these two: bias in computer algorithms themselves. Contrary to what many of us might think, technology is not objective...

ONC's Trusted Exchange: A Public Health Perspective

In January 2018 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a draft Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), and related supporting documents, in response to a requirement imposed by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act. The Act says that the TEF may include a common method for authenticating users, a common set of rules, enabling policies, and a process for managing non-compliance. Nowhere does the Act instruct ONC to determine an actual technical architecture in this process, though such a step is not precluded either. The primary document is in two parts: Part 1 is a set of principles that set the foundation for Part 2 which is a set if minimum terms and conditions for trusted exchange.

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