HSLynk now has a Golden View feature, providing a consistent, linked view of a client, updated by all the warehoused data sources.

We have two goals at HSLynk Open Source:

  • to be an excellent Community Data Exchange (CDEx) for any human services project, and

  • to be an excellent complete HUD HMIS (Dept. of Housing… Homeless Management Information System).

We have some exciting developments to announce on both fronts.  I’ll cover new CDEx efforts this month. Then we’ll discuss new HMIS features in a future article.

Community Data Exchange

A Community Data Exchange combines client level information from many community data sources or feeds, like local hospitals, HMIS systems, behavioral healthcare systems, social services, etc., and links matching people together.  This forms a 360 degree view of the person’s activities in the community. This combined data set can then form the basis of comprehensive analytics and seamless external app interoperability.

One of the key features a Community Data Exchange needs is a Golden View.  The Golden View is meant to be sort of a single, reliable snapshot of the client’s information and activity.   HSLynk just added a complete Golden View, and it’s pretty useful.

Why is it useful?  Because the Golden View always has the latest information, culled from all the sources HSLynk knows about, as soon as the source information changes.  But how does the Golden View immediately know when a specific client’s information gets updated? The Golden View would always have to be checking for changes.  Or, it could go about it a different, more efficient and faster, way. The HSLynk Golden View uses this more efficient method detailed next.

Remember the Publish/Subscribe (aka Pub/Sub) notification system we mentioned having added to HSLynk, a couple months ago?  Here is the news item for that.  To recap, that’s where, if you want to get updates on a client’s activity, you “subscribe” to notifications1, which are “published” when the client activity events happen and the notifications are sent out.  So, for example, if a client enrolls in a shelter or treatment program, the subscribing system application would get a push notification.  Bringing this back to the Golden View, the Pub/Sub notification system is what powers it. The Golden View acts as just another app, and “subscribes” to changes in the community source data feeds whenever they happen.  

So, if a client’s first name changes in the HMIS, the Golden View *may* update its first name field.  This depends on the rules by which the Golden View accepts updates. Right now it is fairly simple in HSLynk: more recent updates take precedence, regardless of the source.  Ideally, additional rules will be added, such as the data feed’s reliability, or the data quality of the updated first name.  

Right now, in HSLynk, the Golden View, in addition to creating a stable view of personal identifiers, also gives API accessible URLs for the client’s:

  • HMIS enrollments or other HMIS data, sorted by HMIS data standard year (2014-2018),

  • Linked Data (Graph Data),

  • CES housing matches,

  • generic enrollments, and

  • household memberships.

All of these APIs are paginated, for scenarios where there are lots of records available.

Golden View

Figure 1 Golden View

Of course, only authorized applications (like another hospital system or social service program system) can subscribe to published client events, and that authorization is based on client consent and agency sharing rules. 

API details

The Golden View is mainly accessed as a search API for Trusted Apps or via the Big Data warehouse.  Documentation for the API is available at: https://docs.hslynk.com/?urls.primaryName=Global%20Api#/default/GET_search-searchentity

API example documentation

Figure 2 API documentation screen capture showing an example API response with enrollment, housing match, and survey data links for a client

Have any specific questions about the HSLynk Open Source Golden View?  We now have a new email/web forum for HSLynk.  Please join in the discussion there!   If you want a trial account to kick the tires, please let use know via support@hslynk.com.    

Next article coming soon: “new HMIS features on the horizon for HSLynk Open Source”.

1 Apache ActiveMQ is what actually sends the message notifications