Minutes from Global Goods Calls

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June 14, 2019 Call | Notice D Q&A on Request for Application

Find the meeting recording and transcript here.

Carl: Thanks everybody for joining the 5th official Q&A call for Notice D. This will be our last official call, although we do want to make sure that everybody has opportunities to collaborate and participate together. This is just a brief call to go over some of the logistics and talk through next steps. This is Carl Leitner and we have Jackie Clark that will speak on the logistics side of things, and I'll turn that over now to Jackie. Jackie, do you want to talk through some of the next steps in the application phase of the process?

Jackie: Absolutely. This is kind of a busy slide, but it conveys a lot of information. The table you see at the top, the blue and gray, aligns with the process table phases of the steps that you see in the RFA and which is also outlined on our wiki. The Application Phase and then the Review & Investment Phase are in blue, and then the specific steps are below in gray. And so right now if you look on the upper left, we’re on the preliminary technical application co-creation phase. What that means is that right now we're transitioning, or applicants I should say, are transitioning their concept now into a technical application. So, this involves moving from concept note templates to the technical application templates with the request that a first draft or iteration of the technical application template is uploaded to the OAP by June 21st. It's not required, but we do encourage it in order to have a more robust co-creation period. At this time, we expect and hope applicants are monitoring the OAP in order to iterate on the application. However, July 5th is when the preliminary technical application needs to be submitted to the platform for the two-week comment period that follows. I think a shift from a previous Notice cycle to this is that we're dedicating two weeks for all applicants and reviewers to just comment on the application, and so whatever you have uploaded on the 5th is going to be what is available for folks to review and comment on. Following that comment period, we're going to reopen the platform, and this is when you'll be able to take all of those comments and revise your technical application. This is also the time that we would like you to begin finalizing your cost application. The cost application has two components: the detailed budget and the budget narrative, both of which also have required templates. So, your full application, which consists of a technical application, which is what you'll hopefully be iterating on over the next month or two, and the cost application, which again, has two required components: a detailed budget and budget narrative. As I was speaking, I was walking from the left to right hand side of the slide. And I'll pause for questions as I know a lot there’s a lot of detail.

Well, if there are no questions, feel free to send anything over chat and we'll monitor, as well as Slack (#oapnotice) and the Digital Square email (digitalsquare@path.org). Thank you.

Carl: Next, just wanted to review what we initially said was the primary focus for Notice D, which was the viral load indicator and getting that transmitted from a point of service into the FHIR server and a secondary focus is the calculation of the indicators, based on the CQL engine. We have four concept notes that were approved that went through and they address both the primary and secondary focus of Notice D. We do want to keep the same guidance that we initially started with, that we want the work to be broken up into discrete work packages so that we can more easily prioritize and balance the different work packages based on if/when funding continues to come in, even after the decision phase. Looking at the four approved concept notes there were: Define Once, Run Anywhere, mADX on FHIR, Towards an Integrated HIE Approach, and the EMR DHIS2 Connector. If you look across these approved concept notes, they all are responsive to the RFA. There is some overlap in what is in the concept notes, in particular with the Integrated HIE approach, there is some overlap in the Define Once Run Anywhere concept note and with the EMR DHIS2 Connector concept note. So, as we go forward, it is up to the applicants to decide whether they want to retain separate submissions with overlapping work or if you want to consolidate and come together as a consortium on that work. In the spirit of the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) and Digital Square, it would be great to see a cohesive set of work packages brought together and submitted across these four concept notes to have alignment among all the partners. That would be sort of our ideal vision of where we get to. Another thing that we think would help facilitate this process is in the work packages that are submitted (and we understand there's likely one or more work packages for each of the concept notes) is that a clear technical lead is named for each of the work packages. Upon successful application and approval by decision we would look at, due to the multiple funding sources as well as the complexity and the interlinking of all the different work packages together, it may likely be the easiest that we will be looking at contracting with the technical leads for each of the work packages. So, we are asking to make that clear which organization is playing that technical lead role for each of the work packages. That will help us mitigate some of the challenges of coordination and bringing everything together. So, I'll stop there as that was what we wanted to share if there any comments or questions.

Carl, can you, with the appropriate diplomacy and ambiguity, are you saying that there is an appetite to support this work beyond the initial donor, but no guarantees around additional funding? Is that a restatement that is fair?

Yes, I think there is a lot of interest among multiple donors and global health agencies in this work so I do think this is something that's the first step of a larger dream and set of resources and that's the advocacy that we will be doing over the next few months to ensure that that does happen. Does that answer your question or were you asking something slightly different?

No, that's exactly it. Yeah, I just want to be clear, because I think there are implications. I mean, I love the proposals, they're quite inspirational and it gets very exciting to read others and how they conceptualize it and there's some fantastic partnerships. It's just great what folks have put together, especially having worked with some of these institutions, so anticipate a fantastic outcome no matter what the decision process looks like/decision outcomes are. I just want to have a greater understanding the extent to which consortiums can be built because we all have to deal with realities of funding the work. And of course, Digital Square is being generous, especially on something that is new and aspirational and emerging as a standard. So, you know, I'm not begrudging that I’m just observing that it's difficult to go forward internally at least in my institution if cutting ceiling remains where it's at, but I do appreciate Digital Square’s strong advocacy and support for the emerging PLM standard and very grateful for that. Thanks.

Jackie:I think just to elaborate a little bit on what Carl said, on our RFA we do have some committed funding and all applications that meet technical requirements and cost requirements will go to the Governing Board for review. Once the Governing Board make decisions, whether funded or approved, all applications that are Governing Board-approved, Digital Square continues to seek funding for so the clarification on that.

If for example you all decided to have one cohesive set of work packages across all applicants to put together, I wouldn't say bind yourself to the $250,000 indicated amount. Do what's appropriate and within reason. We're not going to have $5 million all of a sudden to spend on this but knowing that there's likelihood of some additional funding coming in and that we want to build on this, I think it's reasonable to indicate what work needs to be done. The other question that I had for you all was are there things that we can do to help better support collaborations and interactions among the partners? Would it be useful to help get all of you connected, more help with the logistics of having coordination calls? If there's things like this that you could see as useful for Digital Square to encourage virtual collaboration, please let us know.

Yeah, thanks. I'm not sure if that's necessary as such. I mean, I think there are ways for those kinds of partners to get in touch with each other. But I think if it's being encouraged then might be worthwhile kind of pursuing something to try and coordinate that.

Any other comments or questions?

A general one just in terms of if there have been any updates to the white paper, that might be of significance to the applications?

The only thing that's been done to date is non-technical. It's more aligning the white paper with computable care guideline work and accelerator kits that the WHO is doing. There's been some refinement. The closest thing that might have some impact is a bit of a refinement on the maturity model definitions according to the standalone paired integrated just in expectations in particular on the integrated system scenario expectations for client registry master facility registry. But that's more as a clarification. The next steps for the white paper is that we will be going to final draft by the end of the month and submitting it to the IHE publication process, so from the end of the month, it'll probably be two weeks or so before it goes into public comment period. So that'll be sort of the rap until those comments are coming in and I expect that the final version wouldn't come out until September/October, but I think there's been enough eyes on it that there won't be significant changes. Some of the major changes to come out at the end of June are updates to some of the artifacts that are in the appendices, are the CQL and the FHIR resources, but those are provided as examples and not normative so those shouldn't impact the quality of the applications I wouldn't expect.

Thanks so much, yeah that's really useful and just one other practical question in the technical application just around the global good maturity model tool to do the evaluation. Just given that there's a number of tools being proposed in some of these proposals, what is the best way to complete that that tool when it's kind of a set of a suite of tools being used?

Yes, if the some of those tools have already had a maturity model done, I would reference those. I know a number of them have already so you can reference those, I would just do it by not necessarily every single piece of tool that you want, but if there's the key component of a tool I would make sure that you speak to that.

Thank you all for your time. The recordings will be posted and the FAQ will be updated based on your questions and comments. We appreciate you taking the time and wish you all the best of luck and will continue to the connect. Thank you.

June 12, 2019 Call | Notice D Q&A on Request for Application

Carl: This was going to be less Q&A and more a discussion. Richard is the only partner here. I'm not sure how much discussion we would have. So, we are scheduling a Q&A call for Friday at noon eastern and we will follow up with a formal modification to the RFA to reflect this.

Please find Request for Application #2019-006 Modification #2 here.

May 29, 2019 Call | Notice D Q&A on Request for Application

Find the meeting recording here.

Carl: Thank you all for joining the third Q&A session for the Notice D Announcement from Digital Square. We have a short agenda for today, just the welcome and introductions, then next we'll go into any logistics or contracting questions that you have, followed by a bit of a discussion on instant OpenHIE and how that may be leveraged for your responses and envisioned future directions through both Notice D and afterwards. And then finally, some next steps. So just for introductions: myself, the technical director for Digital Square, and we have Jackie Clark, who's joining for the logistics and contracting questions.

Jackie: Hi everyone, as Carl mentioned I'm Jackie Clark, you may have worked with me through previous notice cycles. If you have questions about contracting and processes, I'm happy to answer them here.

Carl: Thanks Jackie, and just to begin I’ll give an overview of where you can find more information about the Global Good Investment Process as well as the specific grants and contracting basics that apply to Digital Square procurements. You'll see that there's a link on Notice D specifically and how to use the web interface, although I think everybody that's joined has already successfully done so. But let's pause here to see if there any questions that you have for Jackie and her team.

Jackie: If you don't have any questions now, please feel free to use the chat throughout this presentation, and I'll monitor that and be happy to answer anything that comes up there.

Carl: Okay great, thanks Jackie. So moving on, just wanted to remind everybody the Notice D setup, we have a point of service system that's collecting clinical information, which is reporting to a FHIR server using a minimum data set that's defined in the data sharing specification and that data is then used to calculate an indicator using this clinical quality language before being reported to HMIS, such as DHIS2. The primary focus for Notice D is the submission of data from the point of service system to the FHIR server and last time we discussed in the second Q&A call some related work that can be leveraged for this if you don't already have existing FHIR support in your system that the PEPFAR datum team is working on. I understand a number of you joined the PEPFAR data exchange call for further information, so thank you for joining. The announcement for Notice D highlighted one particular use case of indicator reporting, which is the viral load suppression for HIV. That comprises the primary focus.

So moving on, the approach that we're taking as part of a larger body of work is looking at drafting data for secondary data usage from clinical systems or health systems monitoring case based reporting and decision support services. This being the health system monitoring indicator reporting workflow on the left in orange. In order to support all this, there are a number of standards that we're looking at, including FHIR, the ADX or MADX versions, the CQL, and there's lots of coordination and moving pieces to make all of this work. One thing that we envisioned as we put this together is that we can leverage the OpenHIE architecture to help coordinate and document what the data exchange requirements are and also leverage the instant OpenHIE project that is being funded through Digital Square to help product ties and a number of the OpenHIE components to make it easier for you to deploy and test and use the different systems so you don't have to build all of the functionality needed within your point of service application. The instant OpenHIE aims to bring together a number of different existing tools, some of which would be relevant and specific for the indicator extraction, in particular looking at a FHIR repository, a place to hold a master facility list so that we can coordinate and agree upon locations of data reporting, a terminology service for housing the value sets and terminologies for desegregation, as well as an interoperability layer that can help with any mediators or small micro services to assist in data extraction and transformation. Going into a little bit of overview of what that instant OpenHIE work is which is expected to kick off this month is a deployable solution of the OpenHIE components based on containerization technologies, particularly Docker and Kubernetes are what we're considering at the moment. We will be updating wiki documentation that exists to ease the deployment and workload configurations and work on packaging all of the tools together in an orchestrated manner, not just standalone systems if there is a draft roadmap that's available and you can see this dependency diagram is an extract of that. We also have a description of how we plan to use Kubernetes and the ongoing discussion of what instant OpenHIE will look like and your ability to contribute to that product vision is happening through the OpenHIE DevOps call so please feel free to participate. And here you see at the very bottom sort of the core component of OpenHIE, and this is really looking at three pieces of metadata server which would be a FHIR server, such as HEARTH or HAPPI that we could house metadata such as the location information for reporting that desegregates for the indicators, etc., some management tools for managing the metadata, as well as interoperability layer to handle some of the orchestration. And so that's really the core component down at the bottom. Building off this core component would be HMIS component, which would add in DHIS2 as the reference implementation of the HMIS and some additional functionality to that metadata server or just different or new expectations of the data that's stored in there and some additional synchronization functionality and interoperability layer. What we would like to see not as the primary part of the responses for Notice D but as within the secondary side of things is helping us to think through what goes into the patient level monitoring components that we would need to bring everything together and then building off a CQL engine. We have some draft description of what goes into those components of what those functionalities are, but we do expect that to be heavily informed by the Notice D proposals and the requirements that come out from you also. I'll stop there for any questions or comments.

And finally, just a quick reminder of the next steps. Today we're having our Q&A Call #3 and we have a fourth call scheduled for June 12th, which will be as you begin your final proposal submissions. Concept Notes are due May 31st, which is Friday, at which point we'll do a concept note review to ensure that concept notes are in scope, at which point you'll be informed if you're invited to participate in the full technical proposal beginning June 10th, assuming that you've met the criteria and passed the review process of the concept note.

So I will stop there if there's any further questions or comments, I’d be happy to entertain them. And you don't need to talk at once. If there are no questions, we will keep the line open for another few minutes in case something does come up, but that is the information that we wanted to share today. Okay, thank you all for your time and please feel free to reach out or engage with us on the Open Application Platform if you have any further comments or questions.

May 15, 2019 Call | Notice D Q&A on Request for Application

Find the meeting recording and transcript here.

In the concept note template, it includes a project description section. While entering the draft concept note into the platform, I noticed that there isn't a space to put that project description.

We have minimized the number of fields that are entered on the OAP platform. When people are reviewing concept notes, they will navigate to the templates uploaded for all the information, whereas the platform will just contain the five fields: title, two-sentence overview, executive summary, consortium team, and tagging.

To confirm, in addition to entering the text into the executive summary and consortium team and other fields, we should also upload a Word or PDF version of the concept note that includes the project description?


I am curious about the emphasis on point of service systems in the RFA. Is it just looking for clarity on that because there are obviously the other systems involved in these transactions? I think the way I was viewing it is that this may have an emphasis on systems that are actually being able to provide the service level data for a larger transaction to take place. Could you clarify that that's the case or if you're considering more broadly which systems are involved?

There are two focuses for this RFA - there's a primary focus and a secondary focus. The primary focus is the point of service contributing the data and the secondary focus is on the other infrastructure bits that we would need. We really do want to see as much data being able to come in and support that process for the point of service systems.

Is it worth submitting applications for systems that are not providing that data?

Yes, if you’re saying you’d submit something for that right-hand side (of the PowerPoint diagram) it's worthwhile to do so. It might be a good idea to look at some of the other concept notes that are focused on the point of service systems and work with them to figure out how to align that work and present the secondary focus as a work package.

As a work package within a proposal for one of the point of service systems?

Yes, or you could do it separately but just say this is addressing the secondary focus.

Is the focus right now on health system monitoring for the different maturity models? Is that next in terms of standalone paired integration and then is there a specific focus on standalone right now?

No, realistically the integrated model is what we are aiming for, but we do want to have a steppingstone path to achieve that integrated solution. We recognize that the digital health infrastructure in a lot of countries is not at that point, however, the standalone and paired models are what are feasible today and in different contexts. So if you have for example, an EMR running in a health facility, you could also stand up either something like the tool stack that the PEPFAR DATIM team has and look at more of a standalone type system, or you could do the paired system with the directly reporting FHIR data into the FHIR data warehouse. I should also say these maturity models have only been discussed for the health monitoring data workflow. There’s a similar discussion on maturity models and scenarios for the convertible care. The clinical decision support is underway and ideally, we’ll make sure that these align.

Related to the point of service system, it seems that there are tools in content needed by point of service systems as well, not just the systems later in the HR process. I am curious about maybe the specific example that you would have. Is what's providing the metadata required that define exactly how point of service system should be structuring this content and reporting it? Because that's what happened prior to it being received by the HIV or a data warehouse which is referred to as the second step in the US. I'm envisioning an important role, especially as you move to later maturity models like a fully integrated one where you might have a winning service system like an electronic medical record is going to package up content and codes. That would potentially rely on you know external source for defining all that content.

Yes. So, the very short answers: that's in the DSS status sharing specification that defines for a minimum data set for a small set of indicators that can be used to calculate a small set of indicators. It also defines the terminologies or the FHIR value sets needed for the disaggregation. That is how it's all packaged together that particular FHIR resource for that packaging of the DSS as a measure. In that measure is where you can do the linking to the indicator definitions and terminologies. Not the full indicator definitions in terms of the calculations, but sort of the metadata on the version and whatnot. Then we combine in the clinical quality language which actually does the indicator calculations. That's a FHIR library resource that's referenced by the FHIR measure in there. We have the sequel code to do both indicator calculations and identify identification of population cohort. Inclusion exclusion criteria for calculating those indicators on as well as the data requirements for the minimum data set to find those examples of their examples of that is in the White Paper. For the appendix A if you want to see some more specific details on how that's coming together those examples are not fully complete and consistent yet, but they will be over the next few weeks.

Do you have a definition that's available? For value sets that are embedded in the XML have a FHIR bundle or FHIR measure or as part of the in a sequel scripts, then you know that's certainly useful and there's some tools that could use it. But none of the point of service tools are really set up to use that content. They're meant to build up a bundle that would be sent to a FHIR service that's going to utilize that and so I'm wondering about providing value sets in terminology and other potentially structured metadata that would coordinate service systems are going to need in order, just to prepare that content, especially as they get more sophisticated and we move beyond the single indicator for improving this model.

There are a lot of implementation considerations that come into play there. So, I know of some systems out there that already have sort of generic FHIR synchronization services and would be within sort of the paired maturity scenario would theoretically just be able to say, “Okay, I'll sync to a FHIR server and I don't really have to do anything else. Let me just validate for these indicators that I'm actually collecting this data in the system and that I know I have clinical workflows that are reflective right and that's going to depend on the facility.” You know the clinical care that's provided at that facility so that there's a question of presence of data and then there's the presence of the ability to report the data in, in the case where we don't have that for HR7 FHIR’s capability in the point of service system directly in the FHIR library resources, the data requirement. Part is a structure definition that defines this is the data flow that you need. These are the data elements that you need it. You would then need a business analyst or one of your developers to map that back on to your data model and to do that process manually. And that's what this tool stack that the PEPFAR DATIM team is putting together and trying to develop.

We'd also like to take the opportunity to clarify this is only for one specific indicator; the PEPFAR viral load indicator is an important indicator and should be considered in your responses. However, what we do want to see is the capability of this to work readily for other indicators and not just for HIV but as well as for other health program areas. It does look likely that we will have additional funding beyond the currently available funding to consider use cases in the family planning and sexual reproductive health area. So even if your point of service system does not generally deal with HIV clinical workflows, that does not preclude you from applying and we do hope to identify additional funding for putting those core investments to support the points of certain systems to realize these workflows.

Can the people who are developing the proof of concept note take the proof of concept into consideration when developing their concept note?

The people developing this tool stack from the PEPFAR DATIM team are doing it with funding that is not through Digital Square, but they are doing it in coordination with this announcement, and that's why they wanted to open up their internal development for feedback from you all.

I was just wondering if the people who are in standalone health system stage can leverage this?

Yes, the tool stack. On the next slide, there is a link to the GitHub repo which currently has the CSV use case supported and their plans to work on the direct database connection and so that's all work that's in progress.

May 1, 2019 Call | Notice D Q&A on Request for Application

Find the meeting recording and transcript here.

Slight change in terminology: Notice D announcement referred to an “indicator constrained message” but the language has since changed to “minimum data set message” in the White Paper, which is currently still in draft.

The RFA mentions that there are expectations that at least three different global goods will have implemented the CQF IDX solution through the funding. I want to confirm if “global goods” means point of service applications or if that could include three HIE/HMIS components?

Three point of service applications for that primary focus. There will be other global goods involved in the workflow on the right-hand side (of data workflow). We recognize that this is seed funding for approving out that concept and generating evidence and expect to be able to provide additional support internally from Digital Square to realize this whole workstream even if we focus on the primary on the left-hand side.

Are we expected to upgrade FHIR to use version 4 or 5?
Version 4. The IHE Whitepaper application of CQL language to the mADX profile is using V4.
If we submit the initial concept note draft within the first 4 weeks/by May 23rd, is our concept note still eligible?
No. We need to have first round of concept notes submitted by May 10th so that the community can comment to allow for co-development. However, further iterations can be made after May 10th. By beginning the applicant pool earlier, we will have a more robust co-creation period. Update since Q&A: We are requesting for concept notes submissions to be uploaded to the OAP platform by May 10th to support the co-collaboration process. This supersedes what was initially discussed on the call.
By saying “D0” does that mean that there are more RFAs coming under Notice D?
We said D0 because we had planned to have a second one, but that has been delayed as we work through data sharing approval processes. Another may be released as an off-cycle Notice or included in Notice E to be released later this year. We want to provide better guidance and are undertaking a larger development of a roadmap of Digital Square investments that we will share before Notice E. We are taking a brief pause from general global good funding to focus on specific needs here until we can provide that guidance. We expect the first draft to be out in May.
For the OAP Portal, I clicked on “Join Notice D to Create your Application” and received a “Page not found” error. I want to make sure I’m accessing the portal correctly.
Please send us an email with a screenshot of any error messages received to digitalsquare@path.org.
Is there a threaded discussion site where we can ask questions and get answers?
No. The Q&A calls are where we currently host that type of discussion. Update since Q&A: If you would like to ask general questions, including operational and technical for Notice D, please feel free to submit questions to the #oapnotice Slack Channel which can be found here: https://digitalsquare-public.slack.com/messages/CJC7WAACU. If you would like to ask questions, provide comments/feedback to a specific concept note or application, please use the OAP Platform found here: https://applications.digitalsquare.io/. This supersedes what was initially discussed on the call.
Can Slack be used for questions?
Yes, as long as it’s in our public channel where everyone can access the information. We would like to recommend using the commenting period in the OAP as it is a good forum for this information to be available to everyone.Update since Q&A: Please referred to the information provided in the answer above.
The White paper seems to be a moving target because it’s undergoing active work in the IHE community. Will respondents need to be following that progress to respond?
We are aiming for public commenting and finalization of the current draft by the beginning of June. Between now and then there will be changes made but those should not have any significant impact on the design and development of an application. There are a few additional use cases outside of the HIV that we will be providing – for instance malaria and health financing and extracting indicators from there. The second is the example for the TX_PLVS and the HIV family of indicators. Not all examples fit together to cross references identifiers at this time, but this will be cleaned up.
Do we expect significant deviation in the structure or content of that White Paper?
Are we freezing at a particular version of the White Paper?
No. The expectation is that you follow along with the updated drafts as well as the public comment version of that White Paper. Updated drafts are posted on the FTP website and listed in the Notice D announcement. We do want feedback to improve the white papers so please let us know if there are things that are unclear or if you have suggestions.
Regarding use cases, do we have to demonstrate meeting these requirements with an active PEPFAR or HIV project or do we just have to show capabilities?
It does not have to be a current implementation project because that would require approval from ministries of health. We are interested in seeing that capabilities can be readily scaled across multiple countries with a discussion of what implementing looks like in-country and what that work load is. We are looking for things that can be replicated readily. For each instance, it shouldn’t require new software development or developer input. For specific use cases, the HIV is a focus because a lot of funding is coming from PEPFAR. We do expect that this will be a broad interest and not just PEPFAR. You are not limited to HIV 90-90-90, but to be as responsive as possible, make sure that capability is present.
Should we focus on one indicator or discuss multiple indicators?
Several indicators are HIV. For example, TX_CURR is calculated from the same minimum data set as TX_PVLS so the capability to calculate that indicator based on that minimum data set should be the same. Data sharing specifications can have several indicator definitions that are associated with that minimum data set. The primary focus should be sharing the relevant data using FHIR to a FHIR server.

The next Notice D Q&A teleconference will be hosted on Wednesday May 15, 2019 at 9am PST/ noon EST. Feel free to submit questions in advance at digitalsquare@path.org or on the #OAPNotice Slack Channel.

September 4, 2018 Call | Notice C Q&A on Proposal Finalization Phase

Where is the budget information submitted?

Use the template as a guideline and upload the budget narrative and complete budget as an attachment to the OPP&P site. There are specifically labeled boxes that indicate where to upload the budget and the narrative (please upload separately) and any further supporting documents.

How do I know that the budget information is kept confidential?

When the budget is uploaded to the appropriate section on the OPP&P site, it is automatically set to private.

How will the $100,000 and $800,000 pools of funding be split?

The Digital Square Governing Board will make the final decision on how the C1 and C0 funding will be split among the selected proposals. Digital Square recommends proposal submitters outline work packages and assign a cost to each workstream when fleshing out deliverables and the budget narrative; this is not mandatory but will allow the Board to easily tie funding to the proposal objectives.

What is the expectation of the community feedback section?

The community feedback section gives submitters the ability to describe the community feedback received during the proposal co-creation phase and beyond. This is an opportunity to showcase how you plan to further engage the community (webinars, presentations, Q&As, etc.).

Will the PRC and Board view the copy and paste version of the proposals or the PDF version?

The PRC typically reviews both versions of the proposal. The Governing Board will review print outs of the PDFs.

If the name of a developing tool is unknown, should it be added to the appendix?

Yes, please add it to the appendix.

What is the difference between the co-creation phase and the proposal finalization phase?

The co-creation phase provides a chance to collaborate with organizations and individuals within the digital community and develop consortium teams. Commenting and feedback sharing is locked once the co-creation phase is closed. Moving into the proposal finalization phase will allow submitters enough time to incorporate feedback received from the co-creation phase and avoid last-minute comments.

Where do submitters upload the full proposal after the concept note phase ends?

After the concept note phase ends, submitters will then update the concept note with the remaining requirements. The original concept note submitted is meant to be later developed into a full proposal. Submitters can also attach the full proposal as a PDF in the "supporting documents" section.

If a submitter is developing and building a new module, how should the self-assessment tool be used to measure maturity?

The self-assessment should be in terms of the overall software you are building upon, not the module. For example, if you are building a module expanding DHIS2, then you would determine maturity based on DHIS2.

How should submitters determine if the tool is low, medium, or high on the self-assessment tool if it falls between the category descriptions? For example, "country utilization" states a tool is considered "low" if two or less countries utilize the tool and "medium" if at least four countries utilize the tool. How would the submitter determine the status if three countries utilize the tool? Will the level of maturity play into the Board decision on funding?

If the tool falls between two categories, round up. The intent of the maturity model is to highlight requested areas of investment. The Board will not choose funding solely on the assessment tool.

Where are tutorials or instructions on how to register the tool with the Digital Health Atlas?

You can contact the product owner, Megan, via Slack. Digital Square will also add detailed instructions to the Wiki.

Is it a requirement to have the tool registered with the Digital Health Atlas to be considered for Notice C funding?

Yes, it is required. Please register your tool on the Digital Health Atlas. Registering your tool on the Digital Health Atlas will allow us to see where the tool has been deployed, impact, and other opportunities.

How detailed should the workplan and tasks be?
We suggest outlining each workstream and linking each output to a task. Developing a precise, yet detailed timeline will create a clear picture of the deliverables for the PRC and Board.
Who is the point of contact for OPP&P site errors?

Upload screenshots of the error message to the Slack channel or email the team at digitalsquare@path.org.

If approved for funding, how long after being notified can teams expect the contracting phase to start?

Contracting is on a case-by-case basis determined by the Digital Square Governing Board.

If a proposal we uploaded to the OPP&P site and then the submitter decideds to make changes, will a new version of the proposal be re-uploaded?

If a submitter needs to make changes to a proposal already uploaded to the OPP&P site, there is an edit function that allows submitters to edit proposals directly on the site. However, a new PDF version will need to be uploaded to reflect changes.

July 12, 2018 Call | Notice C Q&A Part II

  • Q: Is a new login needed to use the Digital Square Open Proposal Platform?
    • A: Yes. In order to participate in Notice C you are required to submit a request for a new login on the Digital Square Open Proposal Platform. If you created a login for the Notice B cycle it will not transfer over to the new platform.
  • Q: Is it possible to upload images to the new proposal site?
    • A: Yes. Images can be included as attachments and/or embedded within concept notes.
  • Q: How much funding is available in C0 and C1?
    • A: C0 has $800,000 available for investment; C1 has $100,000 available for investment. Digital Square will continue to raise additional funds and co-investments from donors throughout the notice cycle.
  • Q: For the C1 (OpenIMIS) RFA, are proposals that will further enhance OpenIMIS or field application/deployment of the OpenIMIS model desired?
    • A: The goal is to identify potential clients to support the backend of insurance systems. There is an OpenHIE UHC/ Insurance subcommittee currently looking at different workflows and standards for claim submissions, eligibility, payments etc. the goal is for C1 awardees to support the longer term needs of OpenIMIS. Please read the OpenIMIS Roadmap for more details.
  • Q: What are the definitions of the different types of awards?
    • A: Status definitions:
      • Awarded–Fully funded: The proposal has been approved for the full amount requested.
      • Awarded–Partially funded: The proposal was awarded but not at the full amount requested. However, additional investments need to be sought to fully fund the proposal. Submitters will not have to participate in next notice cycle and will be automatically considered in next round of funding.
      • Awarded–Pending funding: The proposal was approved by the governing board. However, funding is unavailable at the time of submission and Digital Square has prioritized this proposal for additional investments. Submitters will not have to participate in next notice cycle and will be automatically considered in next round of funding.
      • Postponing for future calls: The submitter has voluntarily withdrawn the proposal from consideration in the present round of funding and has the option of re-submitting the same proposal in a future round.
      • Review complete: The review of the proposal has completed and not resulted in funding.
      • Out of Scope: The proposal is not eligible for funding consideration as it does not meet all requirements for consideration.
  • Q: Will the submitters from Notice A and B that are “Awarded–Pending Funding” be a part of the Notice C $800,000 funding? Or is there a separate funding round for the previously “Awarded–Pending Funding” proposals?
    • A: Proposals from Notice A and B that are “Awarded–Pending Funding” will have a chance to receive funding from the Notice C cycle. Proposals from Notice A and B that are “Awarded–Partially Funded” will have a chance to receive additional funding from the Notice C cycle.
  • Q: If I had a proposal submitted under Notice B that received a “Awarded—Pending Funding” or “Awarded—Partially Funded” status will I need to resubmit a proposal?
    • A: You do not need to resubmit your proposal as it will be automatically considered during the Notice C round of funding. If you do wish to update your proposal, note that any substantive changes to your proposal would trigger a need for a full review by the Peer Review Committee.
  • Q: What types of donors are participating in the global good open proposal process?
    • A: Traditional donors (Gates, USAID), family foundations, and the private sector. Digital Square is exploring all options and actively pursuing new types of donors; utilizing the donor investment principles to drive engagement.
  • Q: Is the 15% cap on NICRA negotiable?
    • A: The indirect cost maximum is based on the donor(s) investing for the Notice. 15% is the maximum indirect allowed under Notice C0.
  • Q: Is a list of previously approved proposal funding amounts provided for reference?
    • A: Previously approved funding amounts have not been shared.
  • Q: Is there a requirement to collaborate with other organizations when submitting a concept note/proposal?
    • A: Collaboration with other organizations is strongly encouraged but it is not required.

June 28, 2018 Call | Notice C Q&A Part I

  • A list of changes from Notice B to Notice C:
    • Notice C is hosted on Digital Square’s Open Proposal Platform instead of UCSF’s.
    • A tagging feature has been designed for a more productive collaboration effort.
    • It is now a requirement to register your global good with the Digital Health Atlas .
    • There are two announcements: C0 and C1 (general global goods and OpenIMIS).
    • Additional information has been provided on the minimum requirement for a concept note to be considered “in scope.”
  • Q: Should a concept note focus on relative tools and technology that will enhance existing global goods? A: A concept note should provide high-level information regarding your proposed idea and must have the following minimum requirements to be considered:
    • executive summary,
    • consortium team,
    • product description, and
    • tags.
  • Q: If a proposal from Notice B was approved for future funding but not awarded, should the submitters of that note participate in the Notice C concept note phase? How should the concept note be updated? A: If your proposal was approved in Notice B and is being considered for the next round of funding, you do not need to resubmit a concept note because it is automatically considered for Notice C. However, if you would like to make updates to your proposal, please contact the Digital Square team via email or the #Notice-C Slack channel.
  • Q: If additional partners are added to the consortium team on an accepted Notice B under consideration for future rounds of funding, is a new application required? A: Unless there is substantial change to the content of the proposal, there is no need to re-submit as the proposal has already been approved for funding.
  • Q: What is the page limit for a concept note? A: The concept note should not exceed three (3) pages.
  • Q: Is there a predictable funding and/or predictable procurement cycle? A: There is not a set amount of funding for each Notice. However, Digital Square is mandated to fundraise for global goods from different donors and continues to do so throughout the Notice process.
  • Q: Is there a resource that indicates gaps or needs in digital health that can be addressed by opensource products? A: Nothing presently but it is a recognized need.
  • Q: Where are previously funded proposals by Digital Square? A: The Digital Square Wiki lists previous proposals awarded in Notices A and B. Additionally, the University of California, San Francisco, platform has the award announcement for Notice B with hyperlinks to full proposals.
  • Q: Are the proposals meant to enhance existing global goods or to create new global goods? A: The overarching goal of the Notice process is to further digital health technologies. Each announcement has its own set of requirements. For Notice C, C0 requires that the global good is an existing software that has been deployed in at least three (3) countries. For C1, the proposal must be interoperable with national health information systems and further the development of OpenIMIS, among others. Complete requirements and specifications on the purpose and requirements of each proposal can be found in each announcement.
  • Q: Are the concept notes relative to technology or UX? A: The concept notes can be relative to both.
  • Q: Can you revise a concept note once it’s been uploaded to the platform? A: Yes. You can revise your concept note until July 20 when the concept note phase closes at 5:00 pm EST. Please note there are no extensions on this deadline.
  • Q: Is there an open communication channel for the community? A: Yes. There is a Notice C Slack channel, an email box (digitalsquare@path.org), and a communication button on the proposal platform home page that will give you information on the various additional ways to connect.
  • Q: Is there a list of Peer Review Committee (PRC) members? What is the process of the committee? A: The list of PRC organizations is posted on the Digital Square Wiki and website. Once the application phase has closed, the PRC will review each proposal and provide feedback based on the requirements listed in each announcement and the prioritization framework. The outline of our framework is in the RFA and covers four areas: cost, technology, probability for success, and impact. The PRC will assign the proposal a status (green-, amber-, red-lit). The Governing Board will then review the feedback from the PRC and make a final funding decision.
  • Q: Is there a minimum and maximum award for a proposal, or is it relative to each proposal scope? A: Awards are relative to each proposal scope and amount of funding available. When a proposal is accepted to move into the full application stage, a more detailed budget will be required. It is possible for the Board to approve parts of a proposal without approving the entire proposal. For reference, previous proposals ranged from $60,000 to $200,000.
  • Q: Where is the OpemIMIS roadmap located? A: The Technical Roadmap is on the openIMIS Wiki

March 14, 2018 Call | Global Goods Prioritization Q&A

The meeting began with a review of the Global Goods Prioritization Presentation, followed by a Q&A Session.

  • Q: Will submitters have access to the proposal scoring tools? A: No, Digital Square will consider making these available for future rounds.
  • Q: Explain what is meant by LOE (level of effort) breakdown. A: LOE is a high-level estimate of the amount of time an individual will be spending on the project. For example, if someone will be spending all of their time on this project, their LOE would be 100%.
  • Q: How is “indirects” defined? A: Digital Square’s multi-donor platform utilizes the indirect rates of each donor organization as subject to the rules and regulations of our individual donors. Submitters will be provided information on indirect rates during the contracting process. Further guidance will be given when the full proposal and budget is requested with the specifics of that donors indirect policy.
  • Q: How should submitters present the budget? A: On the open proposal website, there is an example of the budget template that should be used.
  • Note: Digital Square is actively identifying new financial resources for this and future rounds of proposals
  • Q: How much detail should be in the budget description? A: Please see the budget template on the platform for an example of the level of detail. Please be clear about who is doing what and how that aligns with the workplan and the scope presented.
  • Q: Does the budget require real names or representative names? A: Representative names and/or titles are acceptable, however, we do ask that key personnel be named.
  • Q: How should submitters frame the budget when it is unclear how much may be awarded? A: Digital Square will reference the submitted proposal to see the organization's budget for the full scope of services presented. Digital Square may fund the full, or a slightly reduced, scope. Please note that this is not the only opportunity to apply for funding. Digital Square continues to identify additional investments that would enable future funding opportunities.
  • Q: Will submitters receive direct feedback on proposals after the proposal finalization stage? A: No—submitters will not receive direct feedback from the PRC on the final proposal that is submitted.
  • Q: What is the timeline for the proposal to be awarded? A: Digital Square’s Peer Review Committee (PRC) will review proposals March 26 through April 12, 2018. Digital Square will then consolidate the PRC feedback, use the prioritization tools, and present the feedback to our Governing Board for final decision during the next Governing Board meeting in May 2018. Funding will be disbursed to awarded proposals after the Governing Board has voted.
  • Q: Can major edits be made to the proposal at this stage? A: Yes—as long as the proposal is finalized and submitted by March 23. No edits can be made after March 23.
  • Q: If there is a section in the proposal outline that is not applicable to our proposal (ex. use cases) what should be done?A: If a proposal section does not apply to you please write “not applicable.” In the specific instance of use cases, feel free to add in details on how you are targeting members of your community.
  • Q: The concept note outline does not seem to align with the proposal outline. Do I need to be changing the content from my concept note to match? A: Try to follow the proposal outline as closely as possible. It is expected that concept notes will be expanded to add the additional sections required in the proposal outline, e.g.,all of the information in the concept note should be in the proposal. If content is already included in the “project description” that is requested elsewhere in the outline, please note in those sections that the response is captured in the project description so that reviewers will know you have not skipped over this section. Feel free to add additional headings to the outline if they are needed for your proposal.
  • Q: Where are the WHO classification/assessments on digital health interventions? We were asked to refer to this in the proposal. A:You can find the WHO classification/assessments here.
  • Q: Does the 15 page page limit include the budget and annexes? A: The 15 page limit does not include the budget or annexes, but it does include the budget narrative. Please treat the annexes as secondary sources of information, not primary sources of information, for the benefit of the PRC so they do not have to search for information.
  • Q: Will there be an assessment around continuity/elevation of content from concept note to final proposal? A: No, the concept note phase is designed to be a light lift; it is an open and transparent process to generate dialogue around potential collaboration opportunities. The concept note phase was also an opportunity to identify any potential proposals that would be out of scope, so that teams would not spend a lot of time working on a proposal that would not qualify for funding.
  • Q: What is the best channel for receiving updated information on Notice B—Slack or the wiki? A: Both! We aim to keep both platforms updated.
  • Q: Summarize steps for the open proposal process. A: You can find the steps listed here. Note: There will be no extensions given on submission deadlines--no exceptions.
  • Q: How many proposals will be green-lit? A: Digital Square does not have a target number of green-lit proposals as the color-status is assigned by the PRC based on the review criteria. The PRC will vote based on the proposal content. The Governing Board will then cast votes on green-lit and amber-lit proposals.
  • Q: Does green-lit mean that a proposal will be funded? A: Green-lit means the proposal meets all of the criteria for funding. Note that the Governing Board does make a distinction of “green-lit--funded” and “green-lit--unfunded.” If the project is funded, it means Digital Square already has the money to support it. If the project is unfunded, it means Digital Square will prioritize these proposals in our fundraising efforts. Once the funding comes through that proposal will proceed.
  • Q: Is there an expectation that submitters print the scorecard for self-assessment? A: No, the scorecard is for Digital Square to prepare information for the PRC and Governing Board meetings. The scorecard is one of three analytical tools within the prioritization framework. Submitters are expected to use the maturity model for self-assessment.
  • Q: Will the review be split up among individual PRC members or do all PRC members review everything? A: Every organization on the PRC can submit ONE vote per organization per proposal (even if there are several representatives per organization). The PRC has already been heavily involved reviewing concept notes and have gone through the voting process once before. We do not anticipate any challenges in this regard.

January 3, 2018 Call | Update on Peer Review Process

  • Welcome – Lauren Wall
  • Why Digital Square updated the open proposals process – Carl Leitner
    • We took feedback from the previous round of global goods submissions, Notice A. Thanks to that feedback we have designed a round that will provide more time for proposal development, provide feedback earlier, and identify potential duplicative work earlier.
  • Digital Square prioritization
    • Digital Square’s Governing Board is currently developing a prioritization framework for global goods investments. We will share this if it is finalized for Notice B.
  • Open Proposals Process:

Notice B Schedule

We will use the following schedule.

Step Action Deadline
Step 1: Concept note phase Digital Square issues a call for proposals and submitters upload concept notes to Digital Square’s public-facing platform. The Peer Review Committee (PRC) and other submitters can provide feedback, comments, suggestions, and identify potential areas for collaboration. January 19, 2018
Step 2: Proposal co-creation phase Moving forward with identified collaborators and using feedback from the concept note phase, submitters begin proposal development. Proposal submitters can post iterations of their proposal based on community feedback. The PRC and other submitters can provide feedback, comments, and suggestions on the posted proposals. February 16, 2018
Step 3:Proposal finalization phase Taking into account feedback, submitters finalize their proposal and budget and submit to the Digital Square platform. The budget is not shared publicly on the platform and the PRC sees only the high-level budget and LOE percentages. Submitters should also fill out a self-assessment of their tool using the Global Good Maturity Model. March 2, 2018
Step 4: PRC review phase The Peer Review Committee reviews proposals according to PRC criteria and votes on green-, amber-, or red-lit status. March 23, 2018
Step 5: Board review phase Digital Squares presents the proposals, budget, and PRC votes to the Governing Board, which votes for investment. Mid-Apri
Step 6: Award phase The result of the Governing Board vote and PRC feedback are communicated to the submitters. End of April

We are currently in the concept notes phase. The concept note phase is detailed on the site when you click “Add your proposal”. It requests three pieces of information:

  1. Executive summary–Describe in two to three paragraphs, for a non-technical audience, the context under which this proposal or work plan is being submitted to the Digital Square and the expected outcomes.
  2. Consortium team–Describe in brief, the composition of the consortium, the skill sets each organization will bring to bear on the proposal or work plan. Identify the organizational management lead who will serve as the point of contact for the proposal or work plan. You can also indicate that you are looking for collaborators during the Concept Note phase.
  3. Project description–Provide a few paragraphs describing the project/proposal/idea.

Open Proposal Process Q&A

  • How can we complete self-assessments on the Global Goods Maturity Model? You can make a copy of the Google sheet and submit with a link or as an Excel document.
  • Where can I find the Global Goods Maturity Model? Here. It is also accessible through our Wiki.
  • How do I provide feedback on concept notes? Digital Square uses an open proposal process. You can create an account and provide comments and feedback on the posted proposals.
  • Will my concept note and proposal get feedback? Digital Square cannot control the amount of feedback provided by other submitters. Digital Square does strive, however, to provide a minimum amount of feedback from the Peer Review Committee.
  • What happens if my concept note or proposal receives conflicting feedback? Digital Square has no control over crowdsourced comments. In the event of conflicting comments, Digital Square can assist submitters choose the best way to proceed.
  • What level of budget detail should be included in proposal budgets? The Governing Board should have an idea of how funding will be spent. The budget should be a line item budget that includes activities, travel, staffing, and LOE.
  • Do all submitted concept notes progress to the proposal phase? Digital Square will not prevent the advancement of any concept notes into proposal phase unless they are clearly out of Digital Square’s scope.
  • Can my organization submit more than one concept note or proposal? Yes.
  • What visibility do other submitters have into my concept note? All concept notes and proposals can be viewed by all other submitters. Digital Square encourages submitters to provide feedback on other concept notes and proposals and look for potential collaborators. Other submitters will not see any budget information. The PRC will see high-level budget and LOE only.

Notice B:

  • What’s maximum duration of award? The longest duration is three years but practically submitters should expect one year.
  • Is this an entry point into a larger funding stream? Digital Square expects that this is an entry point into longer-term funding and support, though this depends on type of proposal. There will be other rounds of funding available, and not applying in this round does not preclude you from applying for longer-term funding and support later.
  • Does Digital Square have priority countries for global goods? No, except that tools should be appropriate for use in LMICs.
  • Does Digital Square prefer to fund global goods that meet a certain maturity level? No. If this changes, we will share that update.
  • Does Digital Square only invest in health? What about projects that cross domains? Digital Square’s focus is health. If you are looking at something tangential and wish to seek funding from Digital Square, we recommend you focus on the crossover. Digital Square serves as DIAL’s health sustainability advisory group and DIAL focuses on projects that are not health-specific.
  • Is Notice B restricted to those organizations pre-approved from the previous BAA process? Notice B utilizes Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding and does not have restrictions on who can apply.
  • Can we apply for back-funding? No.
  • Must proposals focus on interoperability? No. Not focusing on interoperability will not preclude a concept note from funding. However, please note one area of the Global Goods Maturity Model is interoperability and interoperability is in line with Digital Square’s mission.
  • Where can I find information on global goods currently being funded by Digital Square? On our Wiki. Most of these investments were made with earmarked funding. Notice B does not use earmarked funds with the exception that they should be existing global goods.
  • Should my concept note build off of global goods that Digital Square currently supports? This is not necessary, however we expect that proposals that leverage existing investments would be viewed favorably.