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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Public Health Information Network Conference Events

Sunday through Wednesday of next week I'll be participating in yet another IHE Showcase this year, at the Public Health Information Network (PHIN) Conference. We'll be demonstrating more work on interoperability related to public health, using profiles from IHE and specifications from ANSI/HITSP.

Monday (August 31st), I'll be speaking on Lessons Learned Implementing Standards-based Public Health Alerts, and participating in another IHE Interoperability Showcase. We demonstrated public health alerting earlier this year at the HIMSS annual conference. To my surprise and great pleasure, there was a good deal of press on the topic. It promises to be important this year especially in light of Novel H1N1 flu, which predated our initial collaboration, but demonstrates the need for it. The alerting demonstration at PHIN will focus on H1N1.

The alerting demonstration uses the ANSI/HITSP T81 specification. This specification relies on the HL7 InfoButton URL implementation guide. The demonstration shows how an EMR can easily use this specification to query an alert repository for relevant alert information. We weren't the only organization to demonstrate this capability with CDC and JHU earlier this year. Developers from Regenstrief were also quickly able to enable their portal to use the same capability.

I had prototyped the EMR side of this in about 4 hours at last year's PHIN conference after spending some time learning about the CDC project. I spent about a week cleaning up the user interface later in the year to show it at HIMSS, and there's some more refinements coming soon. Developers from John's Hopkin's University were able to implement the public health alert repository side of the interface in a matter of weeks in December of last year. Testing at connectathon took all of 20 minutes once we were set up.

At HIMSS, this was one of the smoothest and easiest interoperability demonstrations I ever participated in. If you missed it at HIMSS and happen to be at PHIN next week, drop by the IHE Interoperability showcase to see a demonstration. If you saw it at HIMSS, see how it's been enhanced since then.

If you want more details on how this is being moved forward within CDC, you might be interested in the entire session. I'll provide more details on the session later next week, I don't want to provide any spoilers ahead of time.

On Thursday, I will also be participating in another educational event at PHIN. Lisa Spellman (HIMSS Director of IHE), members of the IHE Quality, Public Health and Research domain, and I will be presenting a longer tutorial session on standards for public health. The second half of the session promises to be very interesting. The participants will be developing a profile proposal in realtime that will be submitted to a relevant IHE Domain dealing with public health issues. In that session, we use a similar process for developing the submission that the IHE Planning committees use for selecting proposals. It helps people learn about how IHE works, and gets them immediately engaged. I did this session two years ago at an IHE Canada meeting with two other friends from Toronto, and the results were spectacular. Not only did we wind up with a profile proposal, but it was also accepted by the IHE Patient Care Coordination Domain for development. I won't promise that what we develop will result in the same level of success, but I will promise to support what is produced as a result of this session as best as I'm able.

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