By: Paul Adams and Joe Amlung

Paul Adams

Paul Adams is a user experience design leader who prioritizes inclusivity, openness, trust, and collaboration. He enjoys taming complexity by immersing himself deeply in organizations to inspire positive change for users. Paul has recently joined the OCL community to contribute design expertise to OCL’s tools, and he is excited to help these tools meet their potential to fulfill the needs of the community.


Joe Amlung

Joe Amlung is a business analyst and aspiring terminology expert, who aims to align and strengthen global healthcare systems using common vocabularies and robust tooling. Joe has been part of the OCL community for a couple of years and enjoys helping the community learn about how to put terminology into practice.



Year of the user

Maturity Model GraphicThe OCL community has spent the last few years building a suite of terminology products, with a particular focus on the features of the OCL API. Technology implementers amongst us have been able to deploy up-to-date, standardized terminology in their tooling to improve data standards and program governance.

Over the next year, OCL will be maturing its approach to user-centered design. That means widening our engagement with the terminology community to discover the needs and pathways for thriving on our terminology maturity journeys. All of OCL’s initiatives for this year can be found in our 2022 Technical Roadmap.

The terminology maturity journey

Many current and future OCL users will find themselves and their work somewhere in the terminology management maturity model, which shows how many organizations, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, work their way toward data exchange and interoperability by implementing and utilizing terminology services.

First, terminology users and organizations often find themselves focusing on the selection priority data standards, along with establishing governance and starting to implement foundational systems for their eHealth architecture. 

However, the climb from the Emerging to the Shared Electronic Reference maturity levels can be steep, due to the potentially drastic business changes that come with it. Changing the underlying systems and processes to use terminology is not easy, but it can be extremely beneficial in the long run.

This climb in particular is where the OCL community can come together. We see the barrier to entry when it comes to terminology use and implementation, and that’s why our Year of the User aims to make getting started with the OCL Toolkit as simple as possible. There is no one-size-fits all solution, which is why the development of OCL’s software and community works best when driven by real users’ needs.

As we take steps to unlock the opportunities presented by improving terminology maturity at our respective organizations, we can all come together to shape OCL so that our tools can support strategic goals in as simple and intuitive a way as possible. We want to focus our systems around the community, providing both function and maybe even occasional delight!

To help with these journeys, the OCL community is working hard to make it easier than ever to get started with terminology management. This year, we plan to improve our online materials by putting out clear technical documentation, demonstration videos, and much more. We are also going to be setting up regular community meetings, Q&A sessions, etc., so please join us to learn more and to help OCL grow and develop. 

Let’s co-create! 

Centering our solutions around the user means inviting everyone into the design process. Our co-creation initiatives will vary in format and are entirely voluntary. Today, we’re opening our OCL user testing community, where everyone has the opportunity to sign up and tell us a little more about themselves. In future, we’ll notify this user testing community when running workshops, sending questionnaires, or testing prototypes of new ideas.

If you would like to join the OCL User Feedback Group, you can register your interest by leaving a few details here: