Healthcare IT January 27, 2016

Putting Interoperability on FHIR

by Barry P Chaiken, MD

The release of the Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC) Connecting Health and Care for the Nation marks a dramatic shift from focus on Meaningful Use to incenting all stakeholders to fix our interoperability problem.

While the HITECH act moved the nation’s providers to deploying electronic medical records, it failed to build a robust, reliable ecosystem that allowed the easy exchange among providers of up-to-date, complete medical information. This lack of interoperability leads to incorrect diagnoses, ineffective therapeutic plans, and unnecessary and costly duplicate testing.

In February 2014 Health Level Seven International – the standards organization that developed clinical HL7 messaging that is used universally to exchange medical data – published the draft standards for FHIR – Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. In December 2014, a broad cross-section of stakeholders came together to form the Argonaut project, a platform to accelerate the funding and political support for using FHIR as an interoperability standard.

HL7 developed FHIR to replace the complex Clinical Documentation Architecture (CDA), currently used to exchange medical documents, with a set of simpler, more modular, and interoperable data objects format. This approach allows healthcare organizations to identify, gather, and repurpose in real-time FHIR messages as they pass over a network.

Excerpts from: Putting Interoperability on FHIR. Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review, January 27, 2016


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