Standards for Interoperability are making their way through the HIT community. Interoperability is the way for EVERYONE to be satisfied with Healthcare Information Technology. When all the pieces of the puzzle work and communicate, we then can claim success with this process we began so many years ago.
What we have is a non-profit HL7 organization moving forward with what we hope will be a standard that more and more EHR builders will use. This standard will allow some types of clinically-relevant data types to be shared easily and securely. A few big vendors have signed onto this concept and agreed to support an early effort at implementation.
FHIR is an open source framework that manages data into standard packages that can be exchanged among disparate HIT systems. It replaces data exchange interfaces with effective interoperability for a key data subset.
This ability to share easily and openly and super securely will allow any EHR system will set high quality application standards that will ensure EHR’s are both widely applicable and commercially viable. This standard was initially to benefit the individual patient and clinicians, but has grown to include a higher goal to facilitate the rapid exchange between enterprise, i.e. health systems.
The use of API access has helped to transform many industries that we enjoy using everyday. Healthcare can now begin to benefit from APIs and FHIR and HL7 are helping to move it forward.
According to Aneesh Chopra (the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States) “MU3 explicitly states that the patient can designate an app of his/her choice” Chopra also noted that independant of MU3, the HHS office of Inspector General recently warned that is a health system subsidized a community doctor’s EHR, the health system “must open up the APIs as well” “or else, face financial penalties”.
Will it Last?
The reviews by vendors has been mixed. Some big vendors (EPIC, Cerner, AthenaHealth) have decided to work with with the non-profit HL7 organization to flush out the bugs and try to make it work. Of course, others are skeptical at their motives. Small and mid-sized vendors are sure to benefit from this standard as it will help to make their EHRs more attractive to their clients, as they will become more communicative with the Health Systems they interact with.
Should YOU Jump on the Band wagon?
You need to decide for yourself. It may be too early to decide whether FHIR will be a success or NOT. But, anytime you can standardize the way coding is done, increases in quality occur. This is a win-win, I believe, because if the so called “big-guys” are using this standard, then they have decided that improving the way Healthcare IT is delivered is bigger than their individual profits.
If you want to find our more, below are the latest and greatest article regarding FHIR.
More about FHIR
HIMSS Sessions about FHIR: HL7: FHIR Sessions (in Red)