Posted by: Tony Shannon | November 30, 2017

Defining an Open Platform and Building a Digital Square : network effects towards 21st Century Healthcare

Any journey toward deep and meaningful change is a long one that takes time.
Over time, indeed over many years at the frontline, I’ve grown into a mission towards improving 21st Century Healthcare with growing frustration with the current people + process + technology state, i.e the status quo.

It seems like a long wait for fundamental change in healthcare systems, most of which are slowly but steadily grinding up, with physicians under pressure, patient access and  care quality issues, as well as a archaic information infrastructure..

So it is always encouraging when other allies emerge to join the journey towards the changes that are required.
On that point, it is worth drawing attention to 2 key developments in recent months

One is a Key Paper/ Two is a Digital Square.

One: Open Paper:  Defining An Open Platform

The Apperta Foundation is an important non profit that I have mentioned in the past.. thanks to their leadership and the leading work of my colleague Ewan Davis, an important white paper to help outline a way forward for 21st Healthcare is now out in the open. It was my pleasure to be involved in contributing to this paper, and importantly joining other key allies on this journey in doing so. I’ve written in the past on this push, as in 21st Century Healthcare: the Open Platform that will Transform , our work on the Ripple Foundation is bringing this open platform to life and am pleased to be able to widely share this latest paper that aligns with earlier work while improving on earlier thinking..

This latest open paper outlines 8 key principles that should be widely read and well understood by anyone working to improve healthcare with information technology.

The essence of the paper can be distilled to the Definition of an Open Platform, required for 21st Century Healthcare.

An open platform adheres to the following principles in order to meet the need of all stakeholders:
1. Open Standards Based
2. Shared Common Information Models
3. Supporting Application Portability
4. Federatable
5. Vendor and Technology Neutral
6. Supporting Open Data
7. Providing Open APIs
8. Operability (as in DevOps)

The paper, known as Defining an Open Platform and has been brought to you by the Apperta Foundation.  If you have an interest in #healthIT please read it carefully and share it widely.

Two: Opening a Digital Square

The other key development in recent weeks is that of another internationally leading group from . A non profit foundation,  PATH is an international health organization driving transformative innovation to save lives.

In recent weeks under the leadership of Lesley Anne Long , PATH has established the thought leading Digital Square.

In brief, Digital Square has been set up as “A partnership of the world’s leading digital health experts from 30+ organizations and countries working together to strengthen digital health systems in emerging economies.”

Very smartly they are working towards collaboration across the globe towards 21st Century healthcare, with 3 key aims;

  • Coordinate investments in proven digital technology to maximize the impact of every dollar spent.
  • Scale global good technologies that can be adapted to different countries and contexts.
  • Create digital market readiness by building capacity with governments, local technology developers, and health workers.

In particular, their smart thinking and a focus on Global Goods could/should/will be game changing in this field. Their thought leading push around Global Goods is explained as coordinated investment to support the implementation of technical goods that are;

  • Easy to implement and scale.
  • Adaptable to different countries and contexts.
  • Often, though not exclusively, open-source.
  • Funded by multiple donors and supported by a variety of implementers.
  • Interoperable across commonly used systems.


What is so gratifying is to see other allies emerge with such common aims and purpose, evolving and emerging from such different landscapes , yet towards the same end  the same goal… simply put, towards a revolution in 21st Century Healthcare…
The network is growing and we’re doing what we can to connect and grow the networks.. a tipping point is on theway..








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