Dr. Bonny Lewis Van, Clinical Informatics Lead for J Michael Consulting traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to serve as a subject matter expert for the Laboratory Informatics and Global Health Security Agenda workshop organized and presented by APHL Global. Participants were invited from eleven countries to participate in the three-and-a-half-day event: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Bhutan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, and India. Unfortunately, 2 participants from India were unable to attend in person, but like those in attendance they will receive all meeting materials. In addition, Jon Lipsky, CEO for J Michael Consulting traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to serve at the workshop there. Participants were invited from nine countries to participate in the three-and-a-half-day event in Nairobi.
Day 1 of the workshop focused on level setting for the event, with presentations on basic concepts in public health informatics
and discussion of the role APHL plays in supporting domestic US as well as international public health laboratories. We also reviewed models for public health informatics for the US, as well as a model of Southeast Asia. Finally, each country team gave a short presentation on the status of laboratory informatics in their country, following a template provided to them prior to the meeting. On Day 2, workshop participants learned about public health data sharing, and data use agreements as well as a conceptual model for data sharing architecture. The participants also got to roll up their sleeves and get to work on proposing solutions to problems presented in 1 of 3 use case scenarios of importance to the International Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) framework including antimicrobial resistance (AMR), novel influenza variant (flu), and rabies. These same use cases were expanded upon on Day 3. Day 3 focused on more technical aspects of data sharing architecture, tools for data exchange and data integration. On Day 4 the countries could present their plans for incorporating knowledge, tools and strategy gained in the workshop to their real-world situations back home.
In feedback given on each day of the workshop, participants displayed high satisfaction with both the content and level of the material presented. They expressed particular satisfaction with the group work on the use cases, to work in mixed-country teams to tackle informatics problems modeled on those that were very similar to that which they faced in their home countries.
We learned that many of the challenges we face around data sharing and data management are like those faced in Asia and Africa. Several of the African countries were involved with the Ebola outbreak and were forced to develop data use agreements on the fly. They were especially interested to learn more about formal data use agreements. The JMC team enjoyed the opportunity to learn from our colleagues in Asia and Africa. We look forward to more collaboration in the future.