Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About MedBiquitous | MedBiquitous Transition to AAMCAbout Technology Standards

About MedBiquitous

What is MedBiquitous?

MedBiquitous is an international community of professional medical and healthcare associations, universities, commercial, and governmental organizations that develops and promotes technology standards for the health professions that advance lifelong learning, continuous improvement, and better patient outcomes. MedBiquitous also provides a forum to exchange ideas about innovative uses of Web technologies for healthcare education and competence assessment.

What is a technology standard?

From the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), technology standards are “documents that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.”

When we talk about technology standards in health professions education, or higher education more broadly, we typically discuss documents that have several of the elements mentioned above. Most standards include a data dictionary, which includes definitions of data elements; a logical model, that defines entities, their properties and relationships; serialization, digital formats for storage or exchange of entities; and protocols, transport layer and message formats for exchanging entities.

Why do the health professions need technology standards?

The health professions are undergoing a number of changes. Quality improvement and education have started to merge. Competencies are changing education and training. In addition, changes to how clinicians maintain their certification necessitate enhanced communications between learners/professionals, certification organizations, and educators. Realizing these changes across the many educators, certifying bodies, and practice environments affected will be impossible without technology standards to bridge the gaps between these groups. Standards are essential to track clinical education and training, measure its efficacy, integrate education and improvement resources with systems at the point of care, deploy online courses in different environments, and link education and performance data to core competencies and curricula.

For example, MedBiquitous standards enable Dr. Doe's specialty board to communicate with his specialty society and track which of his maintenance of certification requirements he has completed. MedBiquitous standards also enable his hospital to deploy virtual patients and online compliance training created by a sister institution and communicate the effectiveness of that training to partner organizations. Standards allow Dr. Doe's medical school to integrate the systems that help them manage, evaluate, and deliver the curriculum.

MedBiquitous standards also help schools track their curriculum, resources, and learner data against competency frameworks. Standards make it possible for the learner to use this data after the program is complete – allowing the learner to get a complete picture of their progression in competence across their career. Programs can know what tasks a learner has been entrusted to do without direct supervision, facilitating career transitions and allowing learners to start training at the appropriate level.


MedBiquitous Transition to AAMC

Will my membership be affected?

As part of this transition, MedBiquitous Consortium members terminated their existing membership that was affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine LLC. The AAMC will evaluate a new participation model with input from key stakeholders and guided by the new director, Johmarx Patton. During this evaluation period, current members may participate in any scheduled working group meetings and continue collaboration through the MedBiquitous Confluence site. We are hopeful you will participate in stakeholder feedback during this transition.

Will MedBiquitous membership continue to be interprofessional?

Healthcare is a team effort, and it is important to have many health professions represented in the development of MedBiquitous standards. The AAMC will continue to welcome members from multiple health professions.

Will MedBiquitous membership be international?

Educators in Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia have provided important input into MedBiquitous standards development. The AAMC will continue to provide a path forward for international participation in MedBiquitous’ work.

Who will be the MedBiquitous director?

We thank Dr. Peter Greene and Valerie Smothers for their leadership with MedBiquitous since its founding in 2001.

In June 2019, Johmarx Patton started his tenure as the new director of MedBiquitous. To learn more about Johmarx and his goals for the immediate future of MedBiquitous, please review the following blog posts.

NEW MEDBIQUITOUS DIRECTOR NAMED

WELCOME MESSAGE FROM NEW DIRECTOR, JOHMARX PATTON

When and where is the next MedBiquitous Conference?

The previous MedBiquitous leadership and the AAMC jointly agreed to postpone the 2019 MedBiquitous Annual Conference to focus on this transition. A 2020 MedBiquitous Annual Conference will occur, and its scope and location will be announced in Fall 2019.

How will stakeholder input be gathered?

The AAMC will host a series of events to gather input from the community to help shape the future direction for MedBiquitous. Details about these events and ongoing updates about the transition will be shared on medbiq.org as information becomes available.

Will MedBiquitous standards be affected by this change in ownership?

The AAMC is fully committed to maintaining an open public license to the current standards and a transparent standards development process. The AAMC will ensure that MedBiquitous keeps pace with the community’s needs and the evolution of technology.

In today’s complex digital environment, technology standards for the health professions are absolutely critical to allow for the effective sharing of data, with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes. With this shift in operations to the AAMC, MedBiquitous will continue its vital role in leading this important work with a variety of stakeholders.

We look forward to your feedback and engagement during this transition.  If you have additional questions or thoughts, an email has been set up medbiq@aamc.org.

Why is MedBiquitous no longer accredited by ANSI?

We are committed to the standards process established by MedBiquitous in adherence to the ANSI Essential Requirements. Because of the organizational transition, MedBiquitous is going through a rebuilding and visioning phase. As part of the roadmap, we plan to revisit ANSI accreditation and how to approach that endeavor.


About Technology Standards

What is the scope of development for MedBiquitous?

MedBiquitous focuses on developing technology standards for healthcare education, competence assessment, and quality improvement. MedBiquitous seeks to work with other standards developers whose work is complementary.

What is XML?

XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, a Web standard that makes it easier to exchange structured data over the Internet. For example, when you see John Doe, M.D., Pediatrics, you probably know that pediatrics is a medical specialty and that John Doe is a doctor's name. Computers can't interpret that information without some help. XML tags put information in context for computers. A XML member listing for Dr. Doe might look like this:

What is JSON?

JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. JSON is a “lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. It is easy for machines to parse and generate.” (www.json.org) Similar in purpose to XML, JSON provides a standard format for the transmission of data. A similar listing for Dr. Doe in JSON might look like this:

What are Web services?

Just as XML serves as a lingua franca for data, Web services serves as a lingua franca for applications. Web services allows disparate applications and machines to connect with one another through the Internet. These connected applications and machines are able to share information and work together as if they were parts of a single system. As a result, organizations can streamline interactions with partner organizations and save money. And users can find the content and services they seek in one place instead of jumping from website to website. For example, Amazon.com offers Web services that allow other organizations to integrate book searching and listing functionality directly into their existing websites. Instead of going to the Amazon.com website, users can stay on their favorite site to search for and purchase books through Amazon.

What are APIs?

APIs are Application Programming Interfaces. APIs let applications work together and exchange data. APIs allow applications to get just the right amount of data that they need for the task the user is trying to accomplish, which makes them particularly useful for mobile computing. For example, an application may use an API to retrieve data on the medical schools accredited in a particular country. If the person using the application requests more detail on a specific school, the application can then retrieve the school's data and display that to the user. That way the user can access the most accurate an up to date information quickly and easily. MedBiquitous uses JSON and XML for its API standards.

If I use the standards, do I have to share my information?

No. Putting your content or data in a standard format does not expose it any way or imply that you intend to share that content with others. But if you do have a need to move data between systems, MedBiquitous standards provide a consistent format for the data and interface for the transaction.

What are the benefits of creating XML and Web services standards?

XML, JSON, and Web services standards make it easier to find information and conduct online transactions. In the airline industry, for example, there are standards for travel information that allow computer systems to exchange data with one another. These standards in turn enabled the development of software tools that allow Internet users to search several airlines for flights meeting their travel criteria.

In addition, standards can save programming and administrative time and effort, thereby saving money. Instead of building new applications from scratch, organizations can weave together standards-based components to create an integrated solution efficiently. Providing automated ways for systems to work together dramatically reduces the time and costs associated with importing new information into existing systems.

Technology standards also provide the opportunity for organizations to work together in new and innovative ways.