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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Bias has Dangerous Implications

Algorithms are everywhere in our world, and so is bias. From social media news feeds to streaming service recommendations to online shopping, computer algorithms—specifically, machine learning algorithms—have permeated our day-to-day world. As for bias, we need only examine the 2016 American election to understand how deeply—both implicitly and explicitly—it permeates our society as well. What’s often overlooked, however, is the intersection between these two: bias in computer algorithms themselves. Contrary to what many of us might think, technology is not objective...

ONC's Trusted Exchange: A Public Health Perspective

In January 2018 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a draft Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), and related supporting documents, in response to a requirement imposed by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act. The Act says that the TEF may include a common method for authenticating users, a common set of rules, enabling policies, and a process for managing non-compliance. Nowhere does the Act instruct ONC to determine an actual technical architecture in this process, though such a step is not precluded either. The primary document is in two parts: Part 1 is a set of principles that set the foundation for Part 2 which is a set if minimum terms and conditions for trusted exchange.

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Paul Biondich - One Million Reasons to Celebrate our Amazing OpenMRS Community…

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that OpenMRS, Inc. received a $1 million dollar donation from the Pineapple Fund. This donation came as a product of a competitive application process, awarded to initiatives that demonstrate international-scale impact and novel, innovative ways of solving society’s most vexing problems. We are looking forward to using this generous donation to further support our strategic goals, and to increase the long-term sustainability of the OpenMRS community. Stay tuned for more specifics about this important contribution in the days to come.

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The Evolving Landscape of Health Information Exchange

The original vision for nationwide health information exchange was a “network of networks” model where local HIEs would interact HIE-to-HIE to form a virtual national network. But notice that many of the new initiatives are essentially solving a different problem: they are enabling point-to-point connections across a wider geography and set of clinical sites. This seems more like a large, single national network rather than leverage of more distributed organizations or implementations. Only time will tell if these private sector initiatives will collaborate, converge or compete. And only time will tell of the limitations of ONC’s ability to influence and provide leadership will creates gaps or provide new opportunities for innovation.

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"Local" Healthcare Isn't What It Used To Be

We live in a world where bigger is better.  Our phones are getting bigger.  Our televisions are getting bigger.  Our biggest companies are getting bigger (at least if they are in tech).  Our cars, especially SUVs, are getting bigger.  Our houses are getting bigger. And, in healthcare, our hospitals are getting bigger, our physician practices are getting bigger, our health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers are all getting bigger. It's time to question whether any of this is good.

Update on Patient Matching Activities

I have written several times about patient matching in the US, both in a blog entry and a published article. On December 11, 2017 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) sponsored a half-day “Interoperability in Action” webinar focused on Patient Matching Milestones at ONC (see slides). The webinar focused on four ONC projects from the past year. Here’s a quick run-down on what they covered. Read More »

Why We Need Trauma Trained Educators for National and Regional Disaster Response Teams

Lately, I have been dealing on a number of fronts with natural disasters, and how to help schools and their educators can best deal with their aftermath. At the same time, I have been listening to and learning about disaster team efforts across our nation (from across state and federal government), teams that are dealing with the treacherous aftermath of person-made calamities (floods, fires, shootings, hurricanes, tornados, bombs and car/truck intentional crashes). When Veteran hospitals and facilities are at risk, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers their added expertise too.

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5 Ways to Invigorate Education with Raspberry Pi

Recently I was invited to talk to a group of eighth grade students about the Raspberry Pi. Of the 15 students and three teachers there, only a few had heard of the Raspberry Pi. None had ever held one in their hand, nor did they know how to set one up or even where to look for information to do so. I spent 40 minutes talking to them and inviting them to explore the Raspberry Pi and the wealth of high-quality, open source software that comes with it. They were energized and eager to learn more...I think something needs to be done, so I am inviting fellow open source advocates to join me in making minor investments in their communities to move the ball forward.

We Have Seen the Future, and It Is...Estonia?

Like me, you may not have been paying close attention to what has been going on in Estonia.  That's probably something many of us should change, at least anyone interested in our digital future(s). OK, I have to admit: I had to look Estonia up on a map.  I knew it was in northern Europe, and that it had been involved in the whole U.S.S.R. debacle.  As it turns out, Estonia sits just across the Gulf of Finland from -- that's right -- Finland, and across the Baltic Sea from Sweden.  Skype was invented there, if you're keeping score. More to the point, over the last twenty years it has evolved into arguable the most advanced digital society in the world.

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FirstNet for Emergency Communications: 6 Questions Answered

The system nicknamed FirstNet was created by Congress in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Under the contract with the government, the group led by AT&T will build, operate and maintain a new nationwide communications network, providing high-speed wireless communications for public safety agencies and personnel. The network will be protected against unauthorized intrusion and strong enough to withstand disasters that might damage other communications systems. Emergency workers will be able to preempt other users’ traffic on the network, and will be able to send and receive as much data as they need to during their emergency work...

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