Localisation Program Terms of Reference


This document describes the terms of reference (ToR) for the activities of the openEHR Localisation Program. The Localisation Program has members drawn from the wider openEHR membership and will include individuals from multiple language groups, cultures as well as with a diversity of technical, clinical and informatics backgrounds for the purpose of extending the reach of openEHR deeper into their locales.


This document is currently in pre-version 1.0 development.

Change Log


Change description
















Revised after comments

K Atalag

3 Jul 2012


Initial development

K Atalag

27 May 2012

Program Scope

All kinds of localisation activities with the purpose of enabling openEHR's penetration into national/regional eHealth environments with a different mix of languages, cultures, objectives and resources. This includes translation and adaptation of specifications and related artifacts or their extensions as well as instantiation of new content. It is imperative that we support the creation of educational materials in local languages, actively engage with the communication and dissemination of these materials and events, get involved in R&D projects (e.g. with local universities), and liaise with other local standards (clinical guidelines, manuals, white papers, ebooks, etc.)

Program Structure

The Localisation Program consists of Qualified Members for the Localisation Program, Localisation Program Committee (LPC) and Local openEHR Representative(s) and Organisations. In addition, individuals that are enthusiastic about openEHR who work with the openEHR Representative(s) (most probably affiliated with Local Organisations if any) are also recognised as Local Members.

Qualified Membership (QM): local openEHR activity will happen through qualified members where individuals can join from any country or region (can be a specific territory, language group etc. depending on what local needs are). Acceptance will be based on relevant experience and skills required for localisation activities. It is this group that will do most of the work!

Localisation Program Committee (LPC): consists of up to nine (minimum of 5) individuals with appropriate background and skills for the localisation work. LPC will decide about who can be qualified members in this arena. Main focus of this Committee is to work with the Community and Board, and to describe how to establish local presence, what processes are required to getting activity in that country and eventually having an affiliated organisation that takes on local representation.  

LPC has up to 2 co-chairs and the Program Lead acts as the interim chair during initial establishment.

Local Representative(s): A Qualified Member (can be more than one depending on local needs and skills available) to be designated to lead local work and officially represent openEHR in their own country/region. LPC will assist QM to nominate, propose and get permission from the Board to represent one or more national representatives. These appointments should be approved by the Board before one can be appointed as the national openEHR representative.

Chapter Organisations: when there's some maturity around localisation in one country/region and firm demand, instead of individual leadership around openEHR Representatives, establishing a formal organisation that would function as a Chapter Organisation might be advantageous. In the open and free spirit of openEHR these need to be not-for-profit organisations and bound by openEHR Foundation's principles and rules. It is expected that existing organisations relevant in this area (e.g. national HL7 affiliates, health informatics associations, local standardisation bodies etc.) might actually act as the umbrella organisation saving hassle and cost of new establishments. It is yet to be decided as to how membership and money matters can be dealt with within an organisation with other purposes though. This organisation should be approved by the Board before it can be appointed as the national openEHR Chapter.

Local Membership: these are enthusiastic individuals who have an interest in and potential to contribute to openEHR but limited in experience, skills and/or resources to become Qualified Members. This local membership will provide recognition in this space (e.g. as evidence of peer esteem for academics etc.) and the grounds to work with them. They will most likely be formal members of local organisations (e.g. not-for-profit associations etc.). They will be led by qualified members but have no representative or executive powers.

Qualified Members (QM)

This is the body of people who will do the actual work and is not locale specific (e.g. there is only one group). New members (either self nominated or by existing QM) can be added by the decision of LPC based on membership criteria.


The responsibilities of QM are:

  • carry on day to day operations of the Localisation Program
  • propose and set the agenda; such as defining common principles and conventions, resources, contents and materials all localization initiatives should consider (to avoid starting from scratch or overlaps).  Determine issues that needs to be discussed with the Board (e.g. openEHR certification)
  • monitor the agenda and work items,
    • discuss within the group on issues arising
    • tweak if necessary
    • advise LPC is there's a need for resolution of issues
  • meet regularly (period TBD) to discuss issues arising and report on progress
  • keep website, training material and other localisation assets up-to-date and correct
  • develop ideas around promotion, projects, collaborations, partnerships etc.
  • disseminate outputs
    • attend local conferences, showcases etc.
    • publish scholarly articles, newsletters, whitepapers etc.
  • make education a high priority
    • organise tutorials, workshops, special courses etc.
    • contribute to educational programs, curricula
  • foster research
    • contribute to local research environment
    • seek funding for projects, students, travel etc.


These comprise:

  • translation of specifications, clinical models and other existing resources (e.g. documents, presentations, marketing and training material, schemas, etc.)
  • localisation of existing software (e.g. translation and adaptation of tools, components etc.)
  • development of new resources with a particular locale
  • common resources (e.g. document/web templates, styles, conventions etc.) and guidelines for use by all locales


This section describes the conditions for membership for Qualified Members.


  • An understanding of the overall openEHR mission.
  • Health informatics background: a demonstrable knowledge of key health informatics issues such as EHR, interoperability, terminology, clinical environments, public health, medical research,
  • openEHR experience: active participation and recognition in the openEHR community,
  • Local experience: relevant professional stature and recognition in own locale in the field of eHealth and potential for influence.

Note that a high level of technical competency is not a necessity as Localisation work will involve substantial amount of work related with content (which may actually require clinical or organisational skills more than technical). However a basic level of technical knowledge will be required to appreciate the foundational principles of openEHR as well as skills around software localisation when adapting tools and components.

Candidates should submit, in writing, where they stand with regards to the cause of openEHR and provide evidence about their qualifications in these main areas:

  • background/training: degree(s) obtained, training/certification etc.
  • research and development: openEHR related research and/or design/software artefacts developed
  • community: active participation to the lists and the wiki? other activities?


  • A new nomination is sent to any co-chair of the LPC, who will announce and discuss with existing QM.
  • the nomination may be rejected on formal grounds, such as lack of qualification
  • LPC may take a formal vote if unanymous decision cannot be reached (n.b. koray: I'm not entirely happy with this but still recognise it might be a necessity - TBD).

Length of membership

  • there is no limit on duration of QM, as long as the participation and competence are maintained..
  • a QM can leave or may be removed by the LPC due to inappropriate conduct.

Localisation Program Committee (LPC)

This is the formal governance body for review and decision-making.


The responsibilities of LPC are:

  • creative thinking around locale specific issues; including
    • keeping vision aligned with changing requirements, advances, paradigms etc.
    • keeping an eye on local assets (e.g. training material, consistency etc.) making sure that the credit/value doesn't go to certain individuals or organisations but to the community. [TB: can this be stated better with some kind of rules of copyright / attribution?] [KA: I'll need help with this, I don't think we can get away with a single copyright attribution here but the principle is clear I think. We definitely need whole lot more on IP issues around Localised resources. I suggest we move on but acknowledge the difficulty. I've created a new Heading below with reference to a future Document]
    • how to empower local users to get things done
    • trying to find workarounds to address local pecularities due to language, culture etc. but fair enough not to compromise the Foundation's values, principles and more importantly its assets.
  • managing Qualified Membership:
    • setting the criteria for Qualified Membership
    • reviewing nominations from existing QM or from the Foundation and deciding who can become QM
    • maintaining an appropriate balance of individuals (e.g. academics, government workers, vendors etc. as well as in terms of technical, organisational and other desired skills) [TB: how would this be done? What are the criteria?] [KA: since this is not a fixed number group it is not appropriate to give a number or proportion for each. Also this is not a formal decision making group so probably there's no need for a strict rule. If we end up 90% vendor representation is this bad? Not at all in my opinion. I think we'll determine this along the way but the principle is clear]
    • etc.
  • leadership and support for Qualified Members:
    • help with their local establishments (e.g. assist preparing their local TOR)
    • resolving local/global IP issues
    • publishing local content
    • mediating local training strategies, material development and maintenance
    • help with promotion strategies in local environments
  • communication to the wider openEHR community of issues of general interest
  • communication to other Programs (Specification, Software, Clinical Models)
  • communication to the Foundation of any local issues arising which needs Board's attention
    • getting promotion support and material (e.g. endorsements, MoUs etc.)
    • aligning local strategies and works with that of the Foundation
  • advise of requirements and prioritisation of work or any other business

The responsibilities of the LPC co-chairs are as follows:

  • to run LPC meetings;
  • to facilitate the execution of the work of the LPC;
  • to arbitrate in case of disputes.


The LPC members will be selected (initially pulled together by the interim Board and interim Program Leader but later on the basis of democratic election by the QM). Maximum of nine and minimum of 5 members is recommended.

Up to two LPC members are elected as co-chairs by the its members.

New members come from nominations among the QM. Candidates are elected to the LPC via voting by QM. Elections are held regularly depending on the term, or earlier in the case of resignation. At election time, the positions of all LPC members who have spent 2 years in the position come up for re-election by the QM.

Length of membership

Membership of the LPC is for 2 years.

Co-chair positions last 2 years. Elections are held regularly depending on the term or earlier in the case of resignation.

an LPC member can leave or may be removed by the Board due to inappropriate conduct.


LPC members are expected to contribute sufficient time to carry out the work and meet quality and schedule requirements.

Conflicts of Interest

Any potential conflicts of interest must be declared by the LPC members , and the they must agree to indicate any such conflict of interest in discussions and decision-making processes of the Program in which they are involved.


Decisions are primarily made by consensus, i.e. general agreement with no serious objections voiced. Where there are objections, the following process will be used:

  • the co-chairs will manage a more formal round of discussions which seek to expose the points of difference and disagreement;
  • If this fails to result in consensus, the cochairs will facilitate an open community review of the issue with a fixed timeline;
  • The results of the community review will be the basis of a further round of discussions within the LPC aimed at finding a consensus decision;
  • If this still fails, a formal 2/3 majority vote will be taken, unless objections to this route are voiced from within the LPC.


With the Foundation

The Localisation Program needs to keep the Board up to date on its activities and emerging issues. There is a need for support from the Foundation and concerted action during promotion of openEHR locally (e.g. national programmes/governments usually sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the openEHR Foundation).

With other Programs

The Localisation Program needs to maintain communications with the other openEHR Programs on a fairly constant basis. Necessary communications include:

  • Clinical Models Program: TBD
  • Software Program: TBD
  • Specification Program: TBD

With the wider openEHR Community

In order to keep the openEHR community at large informed about events in the Localisation Program, regular and visible communications is needed. These include the following:

  • All governance documents are posted on the openEHR web.
  • The current membership of the Program, including QM, LPC, and Local Members is posted and maintained on a wiki page.


Online meetings are the norm and the LPC and other QM will meet by teleconference at least bimonthly.

Face to face meetings should be sought whenever and whereever possible (e.g. conferences).

IP Issues

It is acknowledged that this may be a 'hard' topic! While the copyright (of left) and licensing issues can be become quite complicated the rule of thumb is to provide maximum freedom in the use and dissemination of local openEHR resources while ensuring ownership and quality is retained.[KA: this can be as complicated as we want].

The details are discussed in this Page (TBD).

Evolution of these Terms of Reference

The governance structures and procedures described above will inevitably need to change over time. QM through LPC will convey any amendments to the openEHR Board for approval.

Frequently Asked Questions