Personal Announcement from David Ingram, President of the openEHR Foundation

openEHR News | April 14, 2023, 1:53 p.m.

"2023 is already shaping up as a landmark year for openEHR.

Thomas Beale is moving to join Graphite Health as their VP Informatics, another landmark event for us and for them, as they crystallize their mission that is very compatible and synergistic with that of openEHR. With the backing of major players like Kaiser Permanente and Intermountain healthcare, Graphite is a strong signal of good intent in bringing greater coherence to the digital care record, and health care information systems more generally. 

I met the extremely impressive leadership of Kaiser and VA when we were about to create the openEHR Foundation, 20-years ago, spending several days with them at a UK/USA inter-Governmental conference exploring informatics in the context of quality of health care, which I was asked to contribute to. Having great institutions of this heft and experience in the mix, in a non-profit venture, is remarkable and much to be welcomed. And equally to be welcomed is that Thomas’s bridge-building over the years with people like Stan Huff, a luminary founder of Graphite who pioneered the Clinical Element Modelling at the heart of the Intermountain systems, has led to this pivotal new position for him. Stan’s CEM ideas paralleled ideas that Jo Milan pioneered at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, from the eighties, and brought into GEHR and openEHR. It was through Jo that Thomas came to me and into our field. Jo inherited massive inspiration from the work of Octo Barnet and others at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard, father of MUMPS style persistence that has served the field so well for decades. I remember visiting and sharing code on mathematical modelling of human physiology and decision support systems with Octo in those years. There has always been a great interplay in establishing common ground of ideas across the Atlantic with pioneers like Octo and Stan.  

We wish Thomas and his family every success and happiness in their move this summer to Salt Lake City. This should not be seen as an end for us, but as a beginning, as endings often are. It can only succeed in consolidating mission that we share with Graphite. There is much that openEHR has placed in the public domain, clinically, technically, and organisationally, and in terms of international dissemination and governance, that can be built on collaboratively and I am sure that that is the way Thomas and Stan will be seeing things.  I have had a warm exchange with Stan this weekend, in connection with my book. We have met and discussed with one another over many years, although infrequently. He has an honoured profile as a clinical pioneer in my book, as does Octo. He has been a tower of strength in bridging CIMI, HL7, and SNOMED communities. And he is a great example of the importance of implementation in learning by doing!  

Thomas is keen to stay on the bridge and there can now be a new bridge for him to command between Graphite and openEHR. The appointment is an optimistic landmark event. And a very fitting recognition of all that Thomas has contributed to us all over now thirty years. We extend our warm good wishes to him, his family, and to Graphite, for the next thirty! He inevitably leaves a gap for us, that is open, and necessary, for others now to fill – that is the nature of successfully sustained mission.  

David Ingram - openEHR Foundation President

PS A couple of not very serious asides... 

GEHR used the hexagon as its leitmotif of interoperability, invoking geometry of tessellation. Graphite is using the hexagonal carbon ring and the loose bonding of sliding planes of graphite that enable it to lubricate, as its leitmotif of interoperability. Stan as chemist, originally, and me as mathematician seem to dream along similar lines! 

The character called Wolands Cat is known to me from the novel in which it features. It has given me quiet amusement for some years, since first introduced to the book in Polish, by my teacher, and then switching to an English version  (Bulgakov’s epic novel, The Master and Margarita) in hope of greater elucidation of its chaotic storyline. This switch didn’t help much – the novel has multiple interpretations! But I got to know Woland’s Cat a bit better there! ????"

>> Back to openEHR News