Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About MedBiquitous | Membership | About Technology Standards


 

About MedBiquitous

What is MedBiquitous?

MedBiquitous is an international consortium 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.

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 specialty boards and educators. Realizing these changes across the many educators, certifying boards, 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.

Is MedBiquitous accredited?

Yes. MedBiquitous is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a standards developer for information technology standards for healthcare education, professional competence assessment, scientific publications, and online communities for healthcare professionals. ANSI promotes and facilitates voluntary consensus standards and is the official US representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

How does MedBiquitous sustain itself?

Like other standards developers, MedBiquitous is supported largely by membership fees, which are tiered based on organization type and revenue. These membership fees support the creation of our standards. In addition, MedBiquitous receives funding from accelerated standards development projects.

Are the big organizations going to take control of the Consortium?

No. MedBiquitous is designed to give all members a voice in the standards development process. Within working groups, each non-profit, government, or industry member is allowed one vote. All materially affected parties, including non-members, can participate in the development of ANSI standards through our standards committee. In addition, the Board of Directors is structured to ensure cross-sector representation and includes a predominance of non-profit leaders in education. MedBiquitous encourages industry participation since their embrace of the developed standards is essential. If industry partners embrace the MedBiquitous standards, it is possible for educators and industry partners to create software tools that work together and further their common goals.

Who is using these standards?

Several organizations have implemented MedBiquitous standards to help them achieve their goals. See our list of  implementers to see which organizations are implementers.

 


 

Membership

What do you get for joining?

For the cost of membership, your organization gets to: 1) define technologies that enable new models for health professions education, assessment, and quality improvement, 2) initiate new standards development activities and shape the Consortium's direction, 3) receive discounts on MedBiquitous meetings and education and much more. There are two tiers of membership: Basic Membership and Sustaining Membership.

Do I have to be a member to use the standards?

No. MedBiquitous standards are made available under a public license, so anyone can implement the standards without cost.

Can my organization join MedBiquitous?

We welcome new participants! You can apply for membership in the consortium, or apply to participate in the Standards Committee

 


 

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, MD, 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 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, Web service, and JSON 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.