Feature Articles

What is openEHR and why is it important?

NHS Wales Informatics Services has been carrying out a technical evaluation into openEHR to test its viability as a repository for structured clinical data. The technology will be rolled out soon to support national projects such as Accelerating Cancer and to provide a shared medications record for NHS Wales. openEHR...offers a specification for a vendor neutral approach to open standards based clinical models and software. On top of this, we can build digital patient records and applications. And as it is a specification, openEHR based tools and repositories are available from several vendors but importantly, they all promise compatibility with each other's products. This means data held in one openEHR Clinical Data Repository (CDR) can be surfaced in a variety of places, natively supporting federated approaches for stakeholder organizations.

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Incident Command System Should Not Be Used For Continuity Of Operations

Let me reiterate, the INCIDENT Command System (ICS) should not be used as the organizational structure to continue operations. No way, no how. I promised a few articles ago I was going to tackle this issue – an issue which has evolved over the last 20 years or so. I will add my theories on why a preponderance of well-intentioned folks have advocated the ICS structure be used as the “logical” (to them) structure to continue the operations of an organization. I believe I speak authoritatively on this having had both feet squarely planted in emergency management and continuity communities over the past 33 years.

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Resilience Must Be Blind to Catalyst - Part II

If this is the first time you are reading something from me, let me introduce you to a phrase I coined in the early 2000s: "resilience (and continuity) is blind to the catalyst." My oft-repeated comment was to present an alternative to the emergency management foundations that were creeping into the continuity lexicon, whereby contingency planning is typically done with a "commensurate with the hazard" or "capabilities-based" approach. Resilience is and must be viewed with a much higher level of consideration…and NOT limited to specific hazards or capabilities. As I most certainly just ruffled feathers of some of my dearest and most deeply respected emergency management professionals, let me explain.

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How Open Source Builds Distributed Trust

This distillation of collective experience allows what we refer to as distributed trust and is collected through numerous mechanisms on the internet. Some, like TripAdvisor or Glassdoor, record information about organisations or the services they provide, while others, like UrbanSitter or LinkedIn, allow users to add information about specific people (see, for instance, LinkedIn's Recommendations and Skills & Endorsements sections in individuals' profiles). The benefits that can accrue from these examples are significantly increased by the network effect, as the number of possible connections between members increases exponentially as the number of members increases.

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An Argument for Standardized Reference Terminologies

As a National Institutes of Health (NIH) article explains, standardized data is ‘crucial for data exchange between health information systems, epidemiological analysis, quality and research, clinical decision support systems, administrative functions.” Terminology is an important part of medicine. In short, it is a clinicians’ extensive healthcare vocabulary, which they use to describe a patients’ conditions and health events. With the onset of EHRs, clinicians are responsible for documenting patient information in EHRs. This is now properly done with standardized reference terminologies and not home-grown ones.

A Perspective of Resilience as Pertains to the Risks Posed by Relying on Digital Platforms

Over the past few months, we have witnessed the "Pushmi-Pullyu" of Big Tech controls and their political influence/power of digital platforms, legislative hearings on their control, public outrage, alternative platforming, censorship, etc. etc...I should say now: this is not a political commentary. It is however a perspective of resilience as pertains to the risks of digital platform reliance. It would seem easy to write about this right now after high profile platforms have made history-making decisions over the past few days. BUT the recognition of their broad authorities and critical capabilities has been a recognized risk for many years; this is not new.

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4 Reasons Businesses Adopted Open Source In 2020

Companies are turning to open source during the pandemic, with 44% of organizations reporting they will increase their use of open source for application development, finds Tidelift's third managed open source survey. We've heard this lyric before; in previous recessions, organizations turned to open source for cost savings and stayed for its other transformational benefits. We wanted to understand which long-term benefits were most helpful to organizations of different sizes. Here's a summary of what we found.

Rock Around The Resilience Wheel - Continuity of Operations Through Disruptive Change

As 2020 comes to a close we are still faced with myriad issues pertaining to public health, elections, economic duress and recovery, unemployment, and living under persistent, pendular change. Resilience has become a popular buzzword to get through these times but is utilized to mean very different things to people looking through very different lenses. Diverse definitions are great but at some point, at some higher and comprehensive perspective, a bow must be put around a common resilience baseline. In layman’s terms, resilience is getting through disruptions and change with some foresight and planning. Resilience matters regardless of the lens you are viewing it through. Covenant Park has coined several catchphrases over our several decades of resilience, risk, continuity, emergency management, security, and national and international planning and execution. Some of those phrases include:

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History Shows that Openness Is a Key to Innovation

Innovations come from humble places, Ridley's argues, and large, bureaucratic corporations were not particularly good at developing innovative products. Instead, small, loosely assembled communities (open organizations with front line teams) have been more innovative throughout history. They have been far more capable of exploring new concepts, particularly if they have a wide base of contributions to work with. Let me review two historical examples of this, drawn from Ridley's work (one brief, one lengthier).

Setting A Standard For Digital Public Goods

In June 2020, the Secretary-General of the United Nations published a "Roadmap for Digtal Cooperation." In this report, he expanded on recommendations made a year before, calling on all actors, including the Member States, the United Nations system, the private sector, and others, to promote digital public goods. He says to realize the benefits of increased internet connectivity, open source projects in the form of digital public goods must be at the center. While the term "digital public good" appears as early as April 2017, this report offers the first broadly accepted definition of digital public goods...The Digital Public Goods Alliance (DGPA) translated that definition into a nine-indicator open standard that we hope will serve as a comprehensive, shared definition to promote the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods for a more equitable world.

How This Open Source Security Tool Halted Significant DDos Attacks

In 2020, our ways of living and working were turned completely upside down in a matter of days. As COVID-19 began to spread across the globe, we brought our companies home, and staying connected to our colleagues, friends, and family online became a critical necessity. This opened the door for hackers to cause disruption; for example, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks around the world were up 151% in the first half of the year, according to Neustar.

A Web-native Approach to Open Source Scientific Publishing

This summer, eLife was pleased to launch Executable Research Articles (ERAs) in partnership with Stencila, allowing authors to post computationally reproducible versions of their published papers in the open-access journal. The open source ERA technology stack delivers a truly web-native format that treats live, interactive code as a first-class asset. It was developed to address current challenges around reproducing and reusing published results-challenges mostly caused by the lack of infrastructure for publishers to showcase the richness and sophistication of the computational methods used by researchers in their work.

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Resilience must be Blind to the Catalyst - Part I

On October 29 William Stemper, Forbes Councils Member put forth a thoughtful piece titled Three Steps To Building Resilience Through Technology.The article goes a long ways towards solidifying why resilience has a more urgent place in our businesses. I commend the article to the readers of this post. While Mr. Stemper focuses primarily on technology at his job at Comcast, he tees up some further, more holistic insights. Read More »

The Ransomware Attacks on Hospitals Are (Cyber) Criminal

One of the redeeming aspects of crises is that, amidst all the confusion, suffering, and loss, there are usually moments of grace, of humans showing their best nature... Unfortunately, crises also tend to bring out the worst of our natures... And then there are the cyberattacks. Last week the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, and HHS issued a joint alert Ransomware Activity Targeting the Healthcare and Public Health Sector, warning that they have "credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers." I'll spare you the technical details of the expected attack strategies or suggested mitigation efforts, but I will note that they warned: "CISA, FBI, and HHS do not recommend paying ransom." Read More »

Open Source Tools Provide An Economic Advantage For Science

Free and open source software (FOSS) and the distributed digital manufacturing of free and open source hardware (FOSH) have shown great promise for developing custom scientific tools. For some time now, FOSH has provided scientists a high return on investment. In fact, my previous research in the Open Source Labreported substantial economic savings from using these technologies. However, the open source design paradigm has since grown by orders of magnitude; now, there are examples of open source technology for science in the vast majority of disciplines, and several resources, including the Journal of Open Hardware, are dedicated to publishing them.

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