INDIANAPOLIS — AMIA, the U.S.-based association for medical informatics professionals, has launched a non-profit organization called the Global Health Informatics Partnership (GHIP) to serve as an international center for collaborative initiatives on health informatics. The project includes several leaders in global health informatics, including Health Metrics Network, a partnership hosted by the World Health Organization; International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA); IntraHealth International (at University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine); Millennium Villages Project, Earth Institute, Columbia University; Regenstrief Institute, Inc. (at the Indiana University School of Medicine); OER Africa (an initiative of South Africa Institute for Distance Learning); and OpenMRS.
GHIP aims to build grassroots networks of health informatics advocates and professionals that will result in strengthened health informatics capacity in low-resource settings, primarily in South America, Africa, and Asia. Through talks, workshops, published literature, training tools, and other mechanisms designed to support widespread use of health information and communication technology, GHIP will catalyze collaborative relationships among institutions, which will be expected in turn to mentor newer partners and share information that leads to enhanced quality, safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of health care. All GHIP activities will conform to open standards, open content, and open-access principles and practices, and will be guided by established informatics principles. Informatics is the science of how to use data, information, and knowledge to improve both human health and the delivery of healthcare services.
“Our community is always excited to find innovative ways to build health informatics capacity. GHIP is based upon openness, transparency, and knowledge sharing — all core values of our open source project,” said OpenMRS founder Paul Biondich. “We are delighted to partner with GHIP who will leverage our software platform as a learning tool, and our community is thrilled to serve as a networking ‘infrastructure’ for capacity development activities.”
The new organization fills a need expressed by many international health organizations for a partner forum, platform, or program in which to share experiential knowledge and best practices. GHIP enables the global community of health informatics professionals and practitioners to share expertise in health information systems and tools, informatics competencies, and capacity-building and to establish local and regional communities of practice in which experience and knowledge can be leveraged to benefit patients and the healthcare work force in low-resource settings.
GHIP board chair John Holmes notes that moving medical knowledge from research to practice remains a huge challenge. “Innovative methods of accessing and transferring knowledge are being sought by many global healthcare coalitions,” he observes. “Rethinking how health care is delivered and how healthcare institutions can foster better health through the science and practice of informatics, and the development and use of information and communications technology is a topic being examined at the highest levels of the healthcare sector, both in private and public institutions.”
The newly-formed GHIP team will meet in Cape Town, South Africa, in mid-September, where they will introduce a group of prototypes called HIBBs, Health Informatics Building Blocks; informatics training modules designed for community health workers in low-resource clinical settings.
AMIA, the leading professional association of informatics professionals, is an important player in medicine, health care, and science, and serves as the voice of the nation’s top biomedical and health informatics professionals. It is a trusted source of unbiased information and the center of action for thousands of health care professionals, informatics researchers, and thought-leaders who advance ideas, policy objectives, and education related to biomedical and health informatics.
OpenMRS is a community-developed, open source, enterprise electronic medical record system platform. Its mission is to improve health care delivery in resource-constrained environments by coordinating a global community to create and support this software. OpenMRS aims to ease the work of health care providers and administrators to by providing them with the tools to improve health outcomes all over the world.
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