Welcome to Project Unify

Project Unify is a proof-of-concept implementation and architecture initiative launched by the National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC). Its purpose is to demonstrate ways to enable and advance secure, responsible information sharing across Health, Human Services, Education and other domains (Housing, Courts, Child Welfare, etc.). The project is being conducted by NIC’s Let’s Get Technical group and multiple vendor and consulting partners who are contributing in a variety of ways to further this transformative work. Read more >>

 Project Unify Concept Framework8679965066?profile=original


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Project Unify Overview of Demos

Project Unify proofs-of-concepts technical demonstrations are driven by the requirements identified by the various user stories that are articulated in the Thomson family Scenario. The user stories explore various real-world challenges faced by members of this hypothetical family and can be extrapolated more broadly to other under-resourced, under-served vulnerable individuals, families, households, and populations. We have increased the complexity of each of demos to include more components that will impact interoperability and the information that needs to be exchanged. Future demonstrations will include many of the same systems, but also incorporate information from school systems, child welfare systems, legal services, and/or the justice system (courts). Click on each demo below to learn more.



Implementing NAA's Recommendations

Almost 200 people attended the virtual National Action Agenda Symposium on January 25-26, 2021, sponsored by Stewards of Change Institute in partnership with Stanford University’s Center for Population Health Sciences. The event centered on six action recommendations devised by subject matter experts, researchers, technologists and other professionals nationwide during the past year.

SOCI is initially focusing on implementation of two of those recommendations with the Integrated Care for Kids project in New Jersey. We are working with InCK to implement Project Unify (described above) and to develop a “Consent to Share Utility.” C2SU’s intent is to simplify and automate the process by which people give (or don’t give) their approval for the exchange of their sensitive or personal information in the health, mental health and education domains, among others. Read more about SOCI's work with InCK >>


2020 Collection of Project Unify User Stories
The 2020 collection of Project Unify User Story summaries have been released! Each summary explores a particular challenge in cross-domain interoperability and integration. The entire series follows the Thomson family through the trials and tribulations of their difficult lives, and the community and societal help they need to survive. Each story has been or will be developed in more complete detail as needed for demonstrations. (For example, the 2019 MITA-TAC Adult Opioid Story was fully developed as a detailed, five-page user story.) View the summaries >>

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Design objectives for a 'minimally viable ethics': ensuring agency and accountability in data exchange

Hi there – I can't make the call today so I'm sharing this summary of months of dialogue and discovery. Assuming that "Do no harm" should be a first principle to guide this work, there are important ethical consideration that are NOT fully addressed by topics of security, regulatory compliance, or even traditional notions of "privacy" and consent. This is especially true given the prospect of integrating complex systems in ways that can collapse contexts and make possible new, unanticipated…

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1 Reply · Reply by Daniel Stein Aug 19, 2020
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Population and Community Ontology

I ran across an ontology of great usefulness to human services:one for population and community https://bioportal.bioontology.org/ontologies/PCO/?p=summary .  As stated "Practical applications of the PCO include community health care, plant pathology, behavioral studies, sociology, and ecology. The PCO is complient with the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and is designed to be compatible with other OBO Foundry ontologies.".  The UN Sustainable Development Goals ontologies are aligning with it.  Oh,…

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  • Hi Dave,
    I asked for some feedback from our team on your suggested test architecture.  Per our VP of Security and Data Governance, the approach of a tertiary trusted party doing hash match is commonplace.  So commonplace that Salesforce established a service for it between their customers or for their customers to offer to third parties that they want to match against.
    If two parties contract with a middle man (in this case the third domain), they need not expose an entire hash pool to the other party, nor even a count of total individuals. A middle-domain would be bound to only give responses of matches.  This practice (at least in Enterprise to Enterprise) is sometimes deemed illegal under GDPR where a hash is still uniquely tied to an individual thus meeting their definition of 'personal data'. 
    This approach is further questionable whether the user needs transparency for purpose when this occurs.  Nike, for example, has an opt-in for 3rd party sharing in the USA which covers this and restricts the practice in the EU for 'marketing' purposes.  
    Entity resolution really needs to be part of the overall equation working with identity federation, proof of trust, & source data provenance. What the full equation provides is "distributed governance" of every aspect of trust.  That includes the following:  identity, security, privacy, regulatory compliance, commercial terms, and semantic interoperability without assuming consistency or mutual trust.
    It allows multiple stakeholders– including online users, subjects of records, vendors, regulators, and enterprises – to independently specify the trust criteria that they require to authorize access to private network resources and have those criteria be automatically inherited by any aggregated resources, computational outputs (like ML) or user responses derived.
    Proof of Trust assures that all of the trust criteria of all the underlying resources are first satisfied before any information is revealed to any person or system. This is very important. It supports trustworthy resource pooling, computation and re-uses of data even if participants don’t trust each other (like most of the time), don’t have consistent technology standards, data or identity models (like most of the time), and are subject to disparate and changing policies, commercial terms or regulatory requirements.
    The Authorization Network leverages Privacy and Proof of Trust to allow individuals and enterprises pool their resources to authenticate and verify the identities of people; link them to their devices, records, and accounts; verify relationships with people and organizations, and enforce their legal, regulatory and contractual rights to data and digital content.

    The Personal Data Network relies upon the Authorization Network to enforce the combined regulatory & contractual rights to data of individuals, enterprises & governments to virtually aggregate data about a person via existing systems and contracts; and provide precision privacy-preserving access control subject to personal policies controlled by individuals. Once in the Personal Data Network, diverse records can be linked and reconciled, transformed into various formats and terminologies, replicated for performance and reliability.

    I think we could do something emulating our data sharing and consent demo with the VA at HIMSS. I can send you an overview.


    All the best,


  • All,

    In a perfect world, I would prefer that any NIEM transactions be accomplished using JSON as opposed to XML but I don’t believe that is going to happen, JSON in the  NIEM world is just too young.
    As a part of the PoC, we are building the capability to perform Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) operations on FHIR resources that exist at MIHiN.   We would like to start building the same capability for NIEM XML.  In order to accomplish this we will need to do the following.
    • Phase 1
    • Identify the simplest IEPD that can be used in a user story that we want to tell.  In the FHIR world we are using a Patient Resource so if we could find something like Patient in NIEM that would be great.
    • Populate an XML Document that conforms to the IEPD
    • email me the populated XML Document.
    • Phase 2
    • identify a server that can provide GET, POST, UPDATE,DELETE operations
    • That server should be able to marshal/UnMarshal from a database into XML
    • That could be HSLynk 
    The end goal would be that from a developers perspective, the NIEM record and the FHIR resource would look the same.  This would be accomplished by abstracting the differences away.  
    If Dr. Rucker’s vision is truly to build an APP economy, this approach would make NIEM a first class citizen in that economy.  APPs build for FHIR would work for NIEM and  visa-versa.
    I believe that by the time of the MESConference we can have a PoC demo that can show simple applications that run on servers, IPhones, iPads, Android, In Browsers, On Desktops (Mac and Linux) and other devices.
    To get started we need a simple XML document, preferably a patient/person record.
    Let me know if we should discuss more or if you can provide the XML doc.
    Dave Walsh
    NIC Lets Get Technical
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