SIL-Asia and DIAL talk about Principles for Digital Development and Community of Interoperable Labs at the 6th AeHIN General Meeting

SIL-Asia and DIAL talk about Principles for Digital Development and Community of Interoperable Labs at the 6th AeHIN General Meeting

2018 , News
October 10, 2018

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Standards and Interoperability Lab Asia (SIL-Asia) and Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) facilitated a pre-conference workshop on ‘Principles for Digital Development and Community of Interoperable Laboratories’ at the 6th AeHIN General Meeting and Conference on Interoperability for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) last 7 October 2018 at Cinnamon Grand Hotel.


I. Principles for Digital Development

Kate Wilson, CEO of the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), presented the ‘Principles for Digital Development’. The principles sprung from the best practices of international development organization on how to implement technology-enabled programs.

The principles aim to address the gap in the inability of development programs to scale beyond the pilot implementation or after the funding stops from a donor. The principles also serve as a set of practices that can be embedded in various cross-sectoral programs to promote digital development. These aim to benefit both the implementers and donors.

As the principles are community-driven, they are so-called ‘living guidelines’ because they echo the experiences of the organizations. Hosted at the United Nations (UN) Foundation, DIAL has been the steward of these principles:

  • Designing with the user in mind
  • Understanding the existing ecosystem
  • Designing for scale
  • Building for sustainability
  • Being data-driven
  • Using open standards, open data, open source, and open innovation
  • Reusing and improving (instead of developing from scratch all the time)
  • Addressing privacy and security
  • Being collaborative 


II. Community of Interoperable Labs

In the second part of the workshop, Philip Christian Zuniga, Technical Lead of SIL-Asia, discussed the services of the lab, such as teaming, training, testing, and tooling. With emphasis on teaming, SIL-Asia encouraged countries to form their own national interoperability labs. The aim of establishing in-country interoperability labs is to facilitate health information exchange in support of evidence-based healthcare service delivery.

With this, SIL-Asia presented its co-creation framework in establishing in-country interoperability labs.

  1. Co-realization: This discussed how countries can co-realize the vision and strategic plan of the potential in-country lab.
  2. Co-building: The framework also explained how countries can co-build their lab capacities in terms of governance, architecture, standards, investments, etc.
  3. Co-learning: Lastly, the framework encouraged co-learning of experiences among in-country interoperability labs in the region.

With the interest of various countries in setting up their health interoperability labs, SIL-Asia introduced AeHIN’s Community of Interoperability Labs (COIL). COIL is a community of countries in Asia who have committed to establishing their own in-country interoperability labs. The community aims to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing among in-country interoperability labs in the region. 


Matt Haikin, DIAL’s Manager for Insights and Impact, facilitated a group discussion on how to best tackle interoperability problems encountered by different countries and organizations.

It also explored how specific strategies can help address pressing problems such as antimicrobial resistance, universal health coverage, and health information systems implementations in resource-constrained countries, etc.

The group discussed ways on how establishing the COIL and adhering to the Principles for Digital Development may be able to support countries and organizations in their interoperability efforts.

Learn how you can build your interoperability lab with SIL-Asia through our co-creation manual.


The Standards and Interoperability Lab – Asia is a regional health interoperability laboratory powered by the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) and supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with sponsorship from The People’s Republic of China Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund (PRC Fund).
The concept for the Standards and Interoperability Lab – Asia was first conceived at the Regional Interoperability Workshop organized by AeHIN in Manila last August 2015 at the sidelines of the Global Health Research Forum. The regional lab was designed to serve as a template of labs in each country that will later form into the Community of Interoperability Labs (COIL).

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Standards and Interoperability Lab - Asia

Standards and Interoperability Lab - Asia

Regional Health Interoperability Lab in Asia powered by the Asia eHealth Information Network with support from the Asian Development Bank

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