Degree Qualification Profiles: Cool idea, bad map

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and The Lumina Foundation for Education have a neat idea called the Degree Qualification Profile which is, as I understand it, about figuring out whether people learn anything in college. Neat!

I have an issue with this map from the DQP page:

DQP map

This is not such a bad map, and you might guess the correct interpretation, but it doesn’t have a proper legend, which is bad, and it does have an improper (probably accidental) legend, which is worse! If you just look at this thing, the color with the big “DQP” in the lower right there perfectly matches a color on the map – and if you interpret this in the natural way, you conclude that DQP only has a presence in a half dozen states, which is exactly the opposite of what it’s trying to show! You can also figure out the correct interpretation as soon as you start mousing over the map, but if you just look at it you could easily get an impression quite far from what they really want to convey. The “IN PRACTICE” rectangle is a shade of blue that doesn’t seem to relate to anything. Bad map.

Health System Standards

So I got to talking to a guy at a DC Tech Meetup, and I came to learn considerably more than I had previously known about standards for health technology data systems.

Health Level Seven (org; wiki; name from OSI layer 7, the application layer) is the old guard in the field, it seems. They have standards for all sorts of medical information passing between systems, including something called a Clinical Document Architecture. Apparently version 2 is the most popular thing in the world, and the newer version 3 has not really taken off, perhaps as a result of bureaucracy and over-planning/feature creep. Which leads to:

FHIR (intro) (Fast Healthcare Interoperable Resource) seems to be the direction for the future, architected along the lines of RESTful web services rather than older SOAP nonsense. Seems like an interesting origin story for this standard, which is now coming under the HL7 umbrella.

That’s how I understand it, anyway – I’m just hearing about all these systems for the first time!

Tangentially, I learned that VistA is written in M! I guess they’re sort of the original M users, but I hadn’t heard about M at all since I heard long ago that Epic, the EMR company from near my alma mater, uses it. M is funny.

Update: There’s also this Open mHealth project, which may be interesting.