Articles, PSQH February 10, 2016

Get FHIRed Up

by Barry P Chaiken, MD

Although I am a physician, not a technology expert, I am jazzed about the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) specification. Organizations struggle to share patient information with each other due to data structure and definition incompatibilities. This lack of interoperability forces physicians to treat patients without the benefit of a complete patient record, which leads to duplicate testing, unnecessary procedures, misdiagnoses, and medical errors.

HL7’s release of the proposed FHIR standard attempts to unlock the data within electronic medical records (EMR) and make it available for other applications to utilize. The current CCD and CCD-A data standards lack the richness and flexibility inherent in FHIR, and therefore represent only a first step in making data interoperable and useful in other systems.

FHIR’s ability to isolate and describe data elements frees the data from the monolithic clinical database. Using an application program interface (API) to access the data, innovative developers can create standalone applications that utilize FHIR-enabled data elements to deliver information to patients and clinicians independent of the EMR.

Excerpts from: Get FHIRed Up. PSQH, January/February, 2016


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