ANNOUNCEMENT: Closure of openhealthhub.org

Hi openhealthhubbers

It is with something of a heavy heart that I’ve decided to close openhealthhub.org

I’ve been running it for around five years as the only completely open (ie open to the internet) place to discuss health tech, and originally it was purely just an alternative to the NHS Hack Day mailing list - somewhere where you could talk about any subject without @drcjar flaming you.

openhealthhub.org was originally formed from the openGPSoC team, however we have all gone our separate ways now, and I’m running this thing but I don’t think it will achieve anything useful.

My heart’s not in it any more, and it costs me money to run. I will close down the server in about a month. If you have important data on here then you can easily take it and post it somewhere else.

If there is anyone out there who wishes to take over the server and domain then please contact me.

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Being flamed by @drcjar was always fun.

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Sad,sad news but many thanks Marcus for the hard work you put into this site and its contribution to health IT.

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Hey Marcus,

Been out of the loop for a while , but always enjoyed reading the occasional track from the clean well executed openhealthhub.org forum .
Totally empathise with how you feel though.

Malcolm

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For FHIR or other interop issues, there is a huge amount of discussion at chat.fhir.org (free registration required).

Thanks @riksmithies - good to know there is a discussion platform available. My issues with all these closed chat clients (eg Zulip in the case of the FHIR chat, Ryver in the case of INTERopen) is that they are all hidden from the wider Internet. They are not public and searchable, so they are obscure and difficult to discover unless you already know about them.

That was the prime reason for openhealthhub.org’s existence - to provide openness in an area where very little open searchable technical information exists - for example there’s no decent stackoverflow for health tech subject matter (although I know several people have tried to start one in Area51, but it’s never achieved critical mass).

However it’s become apparent to me that I’m wasting my own money running these services when it seems nobody actually cares about openness. So hey ho. The world gets the internet it deserves.

Chat.fhir.org is open but it’s a slack not a forum and not searchable etc.

I do believe this forum works and people do care BUT I feel the business doesn’t see it isnt open and realise it’s preventing it, they have instead meetings, email, workshops, documentation, etc.
Every project seems to follow this and results in a multitude of different incompatible technical solutions - that happens even if the clinical problem is the similar, projects are normally divided by specialty. How’s a developer going to realise this, they are so far down the food chain? If they want help it’s going to be an email/call to the project - forums can’t help as diversity in solutions is too high.

Effect is an unintentional divide and conquer.

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In fact chat.fhir.org is a searchable forum, but it’s just not publicly indexed via Google I guess.

So there are issues of discoverability yes, but once you know about it, it’s huge and you get answers to direct questions quickly. There are thousands of people registered worldwide, but not everyone knows about it of course, so we keep trying to spread the word.

FHIR is actually very well supported on Stackoverflow though too @pacharanero, so that is another way in.

But @mayfield.g.kev it seems you are looking not for a forum but for content - pre-formed solution outlines that go beyond what is normally covered in any public space. You want written, implementable recipes for “how do I connect this to that for UK GPs” type problems, and all the other dozens of scenarios.

That would be a good resource. It sits somewhere between things like NHS ITK and the other more specific frameworks, open source software, and closed source solutions that people will want to sell to you (and that cost them a lot to create).

These tend to be complex problems with many issues that need to be solved depending on the exact context. But nevertheless establishing and documenting some patterns would help. Some of the mini-articles and blogs you have posted are really useful and going in this direction. In practice there are so many variables, situations and rules, hardware and software differences that these patterns can really only be fairly general. Often even a bunch of existing source code is not that useful, because it’s hard to integrate with what you have and may be difficult for you to extend and maintain.

As we know, FHIR and other similar efforts that led to it, have taken the approach of abstracting parts of the problem space to narrow down the amount of variation.

Solutions are easier to describe if you can assume that all the systems involved expose their data in a globally standardised web-based API. That would be nice, but systems change slowly, for non-technical reasons. However adding interfaces is relatively easy, given that there are now multiple good free toolkits, and it doesn’t involve a full rip and replace cycle.

I’d be happy with forum, I’ve tended to post content especially when my own searches had resulted in zilch results.
However I do feel we (uk) could have done much better with content. Some simple problems like orders and results tend to be homegrown local variations on international specs mostly hl7v2.
The lack of content, openness and cooperation in most areas like this has been going on for decades. The more I found out, the more despondent I get, I would write more but I’d probably say too much.

I dont believe lack of openness and more importantly feedback is a technical or IT problem. However we only see it clearly in IT: poor systems, incompatibility, lack of standards,etc.

Problem is organisational? E.g. I’ve been ‘leaking’ information from a project for a few months. I’ve got as far as a working solution which can be tested and implemented (using interopen careconnect, fhir, ihe, hl7v2 and possibly openehr) and parts are openly published.

I can’t say which project - that’s a leak as business case comes out in 2020, it is currently at a clinical and management level open and receiving feedback.
My theory is: as soon as this business case goes into production, openness and feedback will effectively stop. Simple checks like can hospitals or systems do this, has this been done before, have we done this before, etc dont feature until it’s left production (I’ll assume in 2021) but thats too late and so too difficult to alter the project.

What’s the solution? I’d be in favour of mocking design and solutions very early on and so allowing technical and business feedback - using a forum like this. Simple things like the discovery that hospitals use OMG_O01 for orders would be found, hospitals tend to follow IHE orders business processes also found, letters to gps more often than not would be pdf not cda or fhir documents, we dont want to use email,
ihe/openehr/hl7 standards follow clinical process not technical, model or business standards.

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Following a bit of reflection, and having caught up with my life a bit, I’ve decided I’ll continue running OpenHealthHub rather than closing it down.

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