Archetypes in the Real World

I’ve spent the past week in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ian McNicoll (@ianmcnicoll) and I were been training clinicians about archetypes and clinical knowledge governance, ready for the launch of their national CKM.

A highlight was a side trip to visit the state-of-the-art Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in Ljubljana. The electronic health record has been running there now for two years, with electronic processes gradually taking over. I was escorted by the clinician in charge of the ICU, Professor Kalan. The purpose of the visit – for him to meet someone who facilitated the archetypes used to run his EHR and for me to see our collective international archetype work implemented and used for real clinical purposes, largely under the expert clinical informatics guidance from Ian.

I was thrilled and a little taken aback, all at once. It is one thing to sit in an office researching clinical models and then to remotely collaborate with our international archetype community. But it is another to see real-time data being collected half a world away from home and knowing that we all had a small part in this, especially to support such critical care for a newborn baby. In the photo, above, you might just be able to spot a humidicrib surrounded by all of the equipment.

The majority of these archetypes were built by the international openEHR community for various projects and now utilised under the CC-BY-SA license by the EHR company to develop their clinical system. There are some local  archetypes in use as well – added for practical and pragmatic purposes – but these are very much in the minority. These same international archetypes are also being used in the EHR repository in the Northern Territory, Australia, and are underpinning their current work on shared antenatal care and hearing health programs. Soon this work is to be extended for renal failure and heart disease. And across more than 20 sites in Australia we have an infection control system that is using both archetypes and some that have been built specifically to support infection control activities and outbreak management. These shared archetypes are also underpinning work in UK, Brazil, Japan and Sweden.

Next week Ian and I are in Norway to support the Norwegian national archetype effort – training their clinicians and informaticians about archetypes, and especially governance principles at a national level.

There are now 5 CKMs in existence:

The international CKM will continue to gather quality archetypes from all sources and coordinate international review and modelling activities. The intent is for this CKM to be the first port of call for those looking for an archetype.

The national-, organisation- or program-based CKMs will be focussed on supporting local health IT activities and will leverage the international pool of archetypes by a virtual ‘read only’ reference capability as well as hold specific local archetypes or modifications of the international archetypes that will support local implementation.

Above all the aim is to create high quality, computable, clinical content definitions that have been developed and ratified by the clinicians themselves. In turn this will support collection of good quality data that can be used for a variety of purposes – ranging from the health record itself; through querying and knowledge-based activities such as decision support; aggregation, analysis and research; and secondary use, including population health activities.

I have said it before, but let me say it again…

IT. IS. ALL. ABOUT. THE. DATA.

In the discussions about standards, the standardisation of data is usually missed.

Seeing this little baby in a humidicrib in amongst all of the ‘machines that go beep’ has invigorated me again.

Let’s continue, and even accelerate, our collaboration on the development of archetypes. This will enable us to gather the data we need to provide the kind of healthcare our patients deserve.

One thought on “Archetypes in the Real World

  1. dear Heather, I work in a research center in Italy and with my group we are trying to realize a complete implementation of an EHR for liver pathologies, because we strongly believe in the importance of diffusion of openEHR and we’d like to work about it. I really appreciate your work and I’d like to get in touch with you: if you are interested, please write me.
    thank you very much!
    francesca

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