Communications Meeting 2010-10-19

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Notes from Communications WG
Date: October 19, 2010
Time: 1:00pm – 1:35pm EST
Attendees: Brian Ahier, Noam H. Arzt, John Blair, III, Janet Campbell, Michele Darnell, Didi Davis, Karen Donovan, Richard Elmore Dave Juntgen, David Kibbe, John Moehrke, Arien Malec, Uvinie Hettiaratchy, Caitlin Ryan


Actions for This Week

Due Date
Approach Best Practices and Reference Implementation WGs about "vignettes" on recent progress
Rich Elmore
Can reach out to IHE Connectathon organizer if WG chooses to proceed
Didi Davis
Put Direct Project Presentation up for WG Call for Consensus
Uvinie Hettiaratchy, Caitlin Ryan
Coordinate a Communications Events page on the wiki
Uvinie Hettiaratchy, Caitlin Ryan

Actions from Last Week

Due Date
Send Rich Elmore an e-mail about changing the URLs
Brian Behlendorf
Continue conversations with ONC to find presentation opportunities at HIMSS
Uvinie Hettiaratchy
Assist in drafting of workgroup status “vignette” for implementation geographies
Noam Arzt, Karen Donovan, Brian Ahier, John Blair
Look to other WG membership for assistance with some of the other communications priorities (i.e. other workgroup vignettes)
Rich Elmore

Communications Event targeted for November 30
Standards Committee - Arien Malec
Simultaneous blog - David Kibbe, Brian Ahier, Rich
Informational Website - Janet Campbell
Vignettes -

  • Pilots - Noam Arzt, Karen Donovan, John Blair, Brian Ahier
  • Reference implementation - ?
  • Best practices - ?

Please volunteer -

Rich Elmore

  • Communications event will occur at the end of November when there has been some good progress on the reference implementation, the implementation geographies, and the best practices
  • 1) Arien Malec plans to engage the Standards Committee, perhaps giving a presentation at their next meeting
  • 2) Simultaneous blog through O’Reilly and THCB, with contributions from Brian Ahier, David Kibbe, and Rich Elmore
  • 3) Informational website
  • Brian Behlendorf could assist in cleaning up the wiki
  • Janet Campbell is looking into creating a new informational website, has reserved domain which would be more high-level, introductory
  • People can go here and understand the Direct Project
  • 4) Vignettes about what is happening with the pilots, reference implementation, and best practices
  • Communicating about overall progress
  • Volunteers from Implementation Geographies WG will craft pilot vignettes
  • Rich Elmore will approach Best Practices and Reference Implementation WGs

Round the Room: Thoughts on the November Communications Event

  • Great ideas
  • Wants to make sure communications launch includes partner organizations, such as Dr. Kibbe’s, TN HIMSS board and other chapters
David Kibbe
  • Good plan
  • Looks forward to working with Brian Ahier and Rich Elmore on blogging
  • Wants a list of companies using Direct in their products
  • Can use in marketing later by referring to the list of organizations
Janet Campbell
  • Cautionary note: When we start forming those lists, anybody can say they are using Direct, but to say with some certainty we need a validation process
  • What does it mean to implement? Are you actually doing it right?
  • May want to wait for more structure to be able to actually test
Noam Arzt
  • Seconds reaching out to organizations
  • Also need to think about events coming up over the next several months, often tied to organizations
  • HIMSS, smaller events
Karen Donovan
  • Need to be purposeful at events
John Blair
  • Good suggestions
Dave Juntgen
  • The list of participating organizations should bring weight to an actual commitment
  • Bring to HIMSS demo showcase, can shine through there
  • Would be nice to push, side working groups at IHE Connectathon this year
Brian Ahier
  • Excellent plan
  • Likes idea that David Kibbe brought up about having a list
  • Appreciative of the caution Janet Campbell brought into the discussion about having Direct inside, so that when an organization says its EHR is capable of providing Direct Project protocols, there can be an onboarding process to ensure this is accurate
  • Looks forward to Direct Project website, showing the results of all the great work on the wiki
Michele Darnell
  • No comment

Arien Malec

  • The “aha” moments during the round were
    • Other projects have been very successful getting to adoption when they have a badge and list of approved vendors (e.g. Surescripts, IHE, other industries)
    • Thinking about Janet Campbell’s word of caution, making sure there is a real commitment when a participant is put on the list
    • In a volunteer project, how can we provide enough level of assurance that somebody who gets the badge deserves it? We already have all kinds of mechanisms for publishing
      • Would be overjoyed to hear suggestions
      • Can we use organizations like IHE that already have mechanisms?

David Kibbe

  • One way to do that would be to think about it in incremental steps
  • Part of the website could be editable by any company, indicating their level of commitment:
    • They have Direct protocols up and running
    • They are planning around Direct protocols
    • They know of Direct, and are thinking about it
  • In the future there can be some way to have a “certification process”
  • Partnering with some other organization to sustain some minimal capability

Rich Elmore

  • The discussion about the communications event is reflective of who we are as a group; we are developing strategic, efficient, effective ways to be able to use these tools for better health and for the long run
  • Should include the basic idea, the possibility secure messaging between two doctors
  • Emphasis should be on communicating value and opportunity
  • New suggestion: creating a list and making an effective badge/list process
    • Asked Arien who should own the evaluation process?

Arien Malec

  • For the process of deciding whether the list is useful, the Communications WG is ideal
  • Defining what it means to be certified and earn a “badge” can be done by the Documentation/Testing WG at first

Rich Elmore

  • Are we interested in pursuing paths, the list and the badge?

Arien Malec

  • Thinks there is value in pursuing both paths

Rich Elmore

  • Other two areas in the Communications plan where there are gaps:
    • Noam’s suggestion about more purposefully looking at other events, opportunities
      • Asked if anyone would like to identity, begin to organize
    • Vignettes for best practices, reference implementation

Round the Room: Covering gaps in the November Communications event

Didi Davis
  • Looks at badge process as similar to IHE agreements
  • People looking to implement in future, showing their interest
  • Want to keep collaborative and open, like ONC has done with certification
  • Suggestion for testing: Doc/Testing WG may not have test scripts ready but could use IHE methods at the IHE Connectathon
  • She is in communication with the IHE Testing and Tools Committee
  • She can reach out to technical manager Steve More (sp?) of St. Louis University to work out details of space and power, if WG decides to proceed
  • May be some cost involved
  • Would need to arrange by November
  • IHE won’t create the tests but will allow space for them to happen
David Kibbe
  • Feels Communications plan is moving in the right direction
  • Remembers that in 2003 one of the early efforts of the Emergency Medical Specialty Societies EHR group was to publish a database of practice management systems
  • Could list products, prices
  • Survey response was overwhelming, over 1200 responses within 6 months
  • Is now a defunct database but he still gets e-mails from people wanting to be on it
  • Database can be a very powerful mover in the industry
  • There is a lot of uncertainty about Direct
  • Likes the idea of a Direct Inside, adds a lot, shares the concern that it has to be meaningful
  • There needs to be a bar/hurdle
  • Assuring that products and services are accurately included Rich Elmore
  • A list suggests that the vendor intends to implement it, while a badge shows they have implemented it
Janet Campbell
  • There can be one centralized directory: “this is where we are at and this is our plan”
  • A badge or integration statement suggests a whole lot more surety
  • Can do some initial testing at the October Code-a-thon
  • Wants to do under auspices of IHE, formal protocol
  • A lot of structure can be found in IHE innovations statement
  • Then could add a Direct Inside badge
  • Cannot do formalized testing for this Connect-a-thon, because it will be too soon
  • But vendors can try out the steps
  • Would be neat to do a demo project at the interoperability showcase
Noam Arzt
  • Agrees with certification process
  • Should reach out to partner organizations sooner rather than later
  • Need targeted communications from this WG telling them what we might expect them to do in terms of publicizing this work as we get into the fall
  • Can also ask them what they might want from us
  • Suggested creating an events page on the wiki, and link to the website, if relevant
Karen Donovan
  • No comment
John Blair
  • Curious what comments might be when talking about the badge
  • Where would it fall with regards to ONC Standards Committee and MU testing before 2013, which is the ultimate badge Arien Malec
  • Clearly it the process would be under the Standards Committee process
  • Direct certification is designed to be consistent with the overall process for considering new standards and specifications for certification criteria
  • Would be inappropriate to suggest that any emerging standard will be guaranteed to be a certification standard, but that is the ultimate long term or medium term goal John Moehrke
  • Wonders what the implications would mean of some interim badge Arien Malec
  • Suggested self-attestation
Dave Juntgen
  • Agrees with self- attestation best way to go now, then considering MU as the ultimate badge
Brian Ahier
  • Agrees to start with self-attestation
  • Likes the idea of testing at the interoperability showcase
  • Likes the idea for a Communications WG to have an events page
  • Recently at an event in Chicago opthamologists were asking questions about health info exchange, they knew about NHIN Direct and the Nationwide Health Information Network
  • Can keep track of events, encourage all WGs to participate, feed event calendar, be ambassadors for the project
Michele Darnell
  • Knows of an organization that offers organizations a lightweight “pledge of intent” option before undergoing a full round of testing to be able to incorporate a badge into their marketing
  • IHE Connectathon is a great area to showcase at, but voiced concern that the even catered to larger vendors—wants to make sure there is a plan for reaching smaller vendors


  • Can use open test system
  • Open to do outside testing or other vendors’ tests outside of IHE
  • As a vendor, feels that would be helpful
  • NIST tools for XDS, provide outside testability

Noam Arzt

  • Great idea
  • Wouldn’t be surprised if the physicians themselves add HISPs,
  • If a couple companies are positioning themselves as HISPs, would be in their best interest to provide a way to show they can work with them

Arien Malec

  • Discussion has been great, energy and enthusiasm amazing
  • Used the standard Direct Project presentation deck a couple times: now can run with it, give presentation
  • Doing stuff to make sure the standard presentation is even more standardized
  • Asked Uvinie Hettiaratchy to update copy on the website
  • Suggested to move toward a WG Call for Consensus
  • Can now move on to community-specific presentations
  • This group has been amazing, the value created is huge
  • It is great to see there are now too many ideas to even follow up on
  • Can coordinate an Events page on the wiki
  • Should they create a self-attestation page or let the idea settle in more?

Brian Ahier

  • Wants one more conversation about self-attestation next week

Janet Campbell

  • Could throw idea up to larger group at today’s IG meeting