Mission Accomplished at Dev4Health 2018

Building a community of software developers and healthcare change agents

There’s something about face-to-face meetings that pushes innovation to the next level. Dev4Health 2018 was ground zero for creating a community of developers and healthcare leaders ready to lead the open source revolution and advance interoperability. 

After sharing the story of the open application programming interface (API) evolution, Indu Subaiya and Matthew Holt of HIMSS business unit Health 2.0, handed the reigns to a roster of well-known faces. Presentations covered topics that ranged from leveraging open source programs for high-need populations to engaging patient ownership for healthier communities, managing HIPAA compliance and even how to inspire medical humanitarianism.

In between presentations, workshops, fireside chats, uber-networking and chocolate-covered strawberries (seriously), we caught up with some of the Dev4Health speakers and heard new insights in the digital health ecosystem.

Even if you missed Dev4Health … you can meet and network with these Dev4Health attendees:

Margeaux Akazawa

Public Health Analyst, Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT

At Dev4Health, I presented research on the challenges patients face when it comes to healthcare data. ONC wants to make sure patients can access their data electronically using new and emerging technologies – so they can be more involved in their health and wellbeing. It also benefits healthcare systems with less repeat tests that incur costs.

A real measure of interoperability is whether the patient can get data when and where they need it. That’s our goal at the ONC. Regulations and laws like 21st Century Cures Act are making this a reality. We also introduced the MyHealthEData initiative to promote new technologies to access health data.

Our call to action for developers is to think about the patient and the problems they face before jumping to solutions. The ONC, as government, helps lay the pipes for data to flow through APIs. But we need developers to create the programs that best use that data.

Kathy Giori

Senior Product Manager, Mozilla IoT

My project takes the Mozilla mission of ‘keeping the internet open and accessible to all’ and applies it to the Internet of Things. We want to see a decentralized web – without proprietary siloes of stacks of device-to-cloud directly. This applies especially to the medical industry, where the Mozilla mantra is ‘we put patients first.’

Interoperability between things can easily be done if web developers create this ‘rule of logic’ that can be exposed to physicians and healthcare providers. If we connect the dots in this massive quagmire we can make it easy to let physicians create ‘prescriptions of care’ that don’t involve drugs but involve monitoring actions. It’s all built on an open source framework for any industry – but healthcare is a really important one.

Medical systems are in a good position because of the effort they’ve already put into Bluetooth device profiles. It’s a straight mapping to a web of things API.

Drew Myklegard

Business Analyst, Department of Veteran Affairs

We want to meet veterans where they are and address their needs – like getting personal health records, scheduling appointments in the huge VA medical system or out in the community. And we want to use data and algorithms to improve treatment for specific needs among veterans, like post-traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injury.

At the VA, we’re trying to get out of building software. We have about 600 systems. If we build an API level above them, we can bring in developers to build user-centered applications better, faster and cheaper for our veterans. We set up the VA’s Lighthouse Lab to expose APIs and bring in developers early on to help us build the first applications – and get the content right. We want to sync this with groups like CMS so it’s easy to interact across government agencies and electronic health records (EHR). 

Our call to action for developers is the open API pledge to open up our EHR faster. And if developers haven’t looked at government projects before, we want them to come in and win some of our micro-purchases that make it easier for new developers.

Krystal Stutts

Freelance Web Developer

I literally saw an ad for Dev4Health in a local Indianapolis business magazine and just bought a ticket! My idea is how to aggregate all your health information in one place so I’m trying to find people working in that space. This is the first event very much along those lines.

I’ve been freelancing in web development for about a year since graduating from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). I’ve always been interested in health and IT so this is the start of my career path. I want to see where the APIs are being used and how policies are formed. This is all new on my end. I came to Dev4Health to learn as much as possible.

Read more about Dev4Health 2018: