Today saw the release of a new openEHR whitepaper, which provides a nice summary of open platforms thinking for e-health. From the executive summary:
The key elements of openEHR’s strategic value to future development are:
- Technically it is a platform approach, rather than a ‘set of standards’ or monolithic specification or product;
- It offers the most comprehensive semantic framework available in e-health, combining formal clinical modelling, terminology, and a services infrastructure;
- It deals directly with the very difficult challenges of e-health, including semantic scalability – handling complex and constantly changing information and clinical workflows, forever;
- It supports the establishment of a platform-based economic ecosystem, in which the customer retains control of purchasing at a component level, using platform specifications (information models, APIs, clinical models etc) as conformance points for procurement;
- This in turn prevents lock-in on the basis of data format, or any other technical element;
- It also ensures that the customer retains control and ownership of the data, ensuring it does not incur unexpected costs in the future for its long term use.
- It provides a direct way for clinical experts to be involved in the specification and steady state development of the system into the future.
The growing list of openEHR suppliers as well as government-led programmes like Norway and the UK NHS producing clinical models and terminology artefacts for openEHR constitute a good basis for the ecosystem, providing diverse products, services and expertise, all guaranteed to interoperate according to openEHR and other relevant standards such as IHE, HL7 and ISO.
The paper will be useful for those advocating for an open platform, incremental based approach to e-health solutions, in which the customer organisations (providers) own the interfaces, and the patients (ultimately) own the data, via the clinical professionals.