OpenHIE's community of practice is composed of a growing cadre of individuals, organizations, and representatives of ministries of health collectively committed to developing practical, scalable health information sharing architectures within resource constrained settings. As a community committed to the Digital Principles for Development (http://digitalprinciples.org), members of OpenHIE work openly to develop and freely share available approaches, designs, and technologies for large scale electronic health data sharing.
During the community’s inception phase, the strategic focus was early participant alignment. Over the past three years, the OpenHIE community developed a shared mission, vision, and guiding principles. They also developed an inclusive community process which encouraged collective design from real world implementation experiences. Over this time period, participants built active working partnerships among pilot implementation countries (Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa), health data standards development organizations, key subject matter expertise, and implementing organizations. These successes were cultivated alongside an early communication strategy of helping countries and key stakeholders understand the value proposition of broad-scale, reusable approaches to health information sharing architectures.
As a result, today there is broad awareness, buy-in and enthusiasm for the principles and approaches being advocated within the OpenHIE community. It is common for countries to plan for alignment alongside the OpenHIE community, and for philanthropies to actively advocate for support of this type of strategic planning approach. It is anticipated that over the next 3-5 years, there will be a rapidly growing collection of implementation activities which will take place in emerging economies throughout Africa and Southeast Asia.
OpenHIE leadership has therefore committed to the second stage of its community strategy, which will focus upon support and growth of an implementer ecosystem. Over the next 3-5 years, the OpenHIE community will evolve its community presence to be more immediately responsive to the needs of new groups and individuals who seek to apply the concepts and principles developed by the community’s early founders. Key to the success of OpenHIE at this phase in it’s growth is an effective implementation feedback loop, as implementers are critical informants of future community work and needed evolutions of early community-driven designs. Significant resources will be allocated towards developing educational materials to lower the activation costs implicit in implementation, and building learning networks that encourage peer learning to happen in a time/cost efficient way. The community leadership will develop inclusive public-private partnership governance models and a participant-driven strategic roadmap development process. Communication strategies will focus upon examples of OpenHIE in practice, ideally through case studies that show various real world use cases (such as HIV/AIDS care, immunization, and universal health coverage) where electronic data sharing is fundamental to success.