Open Health Tools (OHT) Building for the Future

At the Open Health Tools (OHT) board meeting held this week in Baltimore, the OHT executive management team laid out the next steps to be taken as they work with the growing number of member organizations to transition into the next phase of their strategic plan. The board meeting was presided over by Dr. Robert Kolodner, the acting Chief Executive Officer of OHT.

The mission of Open Health Tools (OHT) is to "Improve the world's health and well-being by unleashing health IT innovation."

The past 4-5 years have been focused on initial of the plan – laying a solid foundation to succeed well into the future. Phase 1 focused key startup tasks like reaching out to potential members that could help build the global Open Health Tools (OHT) community, identifying and 'harvesting' some of the available open source technical tools, and trying to marry up the interests of both the non-profit and for-profit member organizations so they would effectively collaborate and cooperate within the 'open health' ecosystem.

Phase 2 of the Open Health Tools (OHT) strategic plan is just getting underway. The focus of the organization for the next 3-4 years will be focused on putting in place the needed governance structure, business model and processes, platforms and tools needed to ensure the long term success of OHT and the 'open health' ecosystem it is helping to build.  Dr. Robert Kolodner, the Chief Health Informatics Officer (CMO) for OHT, introduced the organization's newly appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO), Mr. Bruce Amato.  He is a key addition to the executive team and will play a key role in moving the organization forward during this next phase.

Skip McGaughey, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of the Board of Open Health Tools (OHT), then briefly laid out the outline for the subsequent phase of the strategic plan. During these outlying phases, the focus of the plan will shift to sustainability issues, ongoing maintenance of the platform and tools, continuous quality improvement and innovation, and ensuring the organization and the 'open health' ecosystem is truly global in nature – addressing the rapidly growing healthcare needs and health IT marketplace on all continents.  As CEO, Skip McGaughey continues to play a critical leadership role within OHT, not only by providing his knowledge and experience, but also by leading the OHT outreach activities to raise the contributions needed to support Phase 2 and beyond.

After laying out the major phases of the strategic plan, the board was asked to approve the creation of a new 'Strategic Council'. The organization currently has two major councils, the Architecture Council and the Health Council.  The Health Council and work groups has been focused on identifying the functional requirements  of the systems needing to be built for clinicians, educators, patients, family members, allied health organizations, and health IT vendors.  The Architecture Council and work groups have been established to address the architecture, technical requirements, standards, and roadmap for building the platforms and tools to be built in order to meet the needs laid out by the Health Council. The new Strategic Council will be charged with refining the OHT strategic plan, addressing governance issues, policy, priorities, and other major strategic management decisions.  The creation of the new Council was unanimously approved by the board.  Learn more about the OHT Leadership & Governance structure.

The second half of the day at the board meeting was focused on some of the major, approved OHT projects and initiatives.  These included several state and local government HIE initiatives, as well as the HINGX Project, the Interface Library Project (ILP), the HEART Project, the Interoperability Integration &  Innovation Lab (I3L) at Georgia Tech, and more. For more detailed information on these projects,  make sure you visit the Open Health Tools (OHT) Projects section on their web site.

Finally, at the meeting, three organizations were introduced and nominated for membership in Open Health Tools (OHT) – AHIMA, Harris Corporation, and Hewlett-Packard.  Representatives from each organization were given an opportunity to speak and talk about what they could bring to the ecosystem.  Both organizations were approved as new members of OHT.  See the complete list of OHT members posted on the OHT web site.

The meeting presentations will soon be available on the Open Health Tools (OHT) web site under OHT Board Meetings.