Do not be alarmed. IT companies with the help of HL7 are setting the healthcare industry on FHIR. That is to say, healthcare organizations are becoming more interconnected throughout the United States’ healthcare system via HL7’s Fast Health Interoperability Resources, or FHIR. HL7, the non-profit ANSI-accredited standards developing organization, released the FHIR 1.0 Standards at the beginning of 2015. It takes the best of HL7’s previous standards and takes a more modern and high-tech approach to secure data transfer between health IT devices within or across organizations.
Why Now?Since its adaptation to the healthcare space and aligned with ONC’s agenda, we have seen the adoption of health IT technologies significantly increase across many departments. The value here is a jump in clinical efficiency for doctors and staff members to contribute to more positive patient outcomes. The fluid transfer of data from one device to another and the accessibility of that data streamlines the clinical experience and virtually eliminates workflow silos between departments.
Why FHIR?What makes the new standard so superior to its predecessors (HL7 v2 being the most recent) is its granularity through resources, security and accessibility – the third only being a possibility via the first two. The healthcare industry’s move away from C-CDA standards of whole document transfers to FHIR’s granular API integration, gives doctors the flexibility and scalability to view data in a more granular fashion. Paired with unmatched security guidelines, FHIR paved the way for SMART on FHIR, specification guidelines to integrate applications for mobile, and worldwide accessibility to patients. Through all of the changes in healthcare, it is still unclear if FHIR will be the standard that will stand the test of time. But its flexibility and modern approach prove it is lighting the way towards the future of interoperability in healthcare.
Seth Hobgood is the Principal and CTO at Interoptex.