Tag Archives: FHIR

Do We Really Want Total Interoperability? Let’s Be Honest….

Just when I started getting excited about FHIR and it’s prospects for fostering (dare I shall say) true interoperability within health IT, we should recall whether the private sector really wants this.  The question is whether we have the will to give up something (for instance making capital investments to change existing coding and systems architecture) for the common good (the disparate parts of healthcare being able to seamlessly exchange information).

After reading this article, “at the risk of quelling the FHIR party it’s time for a reality check on the fledgling interoperability standard, if only because what’s happening now will, in hindsight, likely be the fun part.

One need look no further than those now-ubiquitous XML and associated standards, however, to understand some of the growing pains on the road ahead.

At one point in time, the old guard of enterprise IT vendors — IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Oracle to name the big guns — came together with a number of specialty shops via standards bodies to craft those web services specs.

But then each vendor would take that work back to its headquarters and essentially bend the specification as far as they could toward their own will. Did the initial version of Microsoft’s integration server seamlessly access information in an Oracle database or SAP’s applications? Not so perfectly. What’s more, Forrester, Gartner or IDC analysts were saying at the time that these companies, Microsoft specifically, weren’t necessarily all that interested in interoperating with the so-called competition.

“I would suspect this will replay itself in healthcare,” said Steven Waldren, MD, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Center for Health IT. “Layer on the confounding factors such as the multiple purpose of health records, ambiguity and uncertainty in the data, complexity of health information, misaligned business drivers, and it is going to be a rocky 2017-2020.”

Greetings from Sunny Arizona! WEDI’s National Spring Conference Is Underway.

The 24th annual WEDI Conference is well underway in the very sunny (and hot!) Scottsdale, AZ.  Many representatives from Axiom are on-site including Sales (Bill), the senior leadership team (Paul, Sandra, and Rich), and those from the Consulting Services division (Gina, Peggy, Satish).  And we can’t forget about Gigi from the Phoenix office, either!

There are a lot of good topics on hand ranging from (you guessed it!) ICD-10, HIE, FHIR, and privacy and security matters.  Stay tuned for future blog posts for conference highlights.

HL7 Proposes New Interoperability Standards for Health IT

Sharing is caring.  We’ve all heard this phrase, right?  Well, this also applies to healthcare data, too.  The past decades where healthcare has become more and more digitized means that there’s more and more electronic data being housed.  As interoperability becomes increasingly inevitable, there are some real growing pains that we all have encountered while trying to share this information to others, even those within the same institution.  Because vendors, governmental agencies (even those within the federal government), private and public institutions were all speaking their own (data) language, trying to exchange information was a bit of a headache, to say the least.  HL7 has recognized this and have proposed an interoperability standard known as FHIR, or Fast Health Interoperability Resources. What would it look like?  Here’s an excerpt from this govhealthit.com article:

“FHIR is attractive primarily because it is based on a truly modern web services approach (and one used by companies such as Yahoo, Facebook and Google). This approach makes it easier for systems to exchange very specific, well-defined pieces of information, rather than entire documents.Today in HIT, the common standard is one based on what is known as C-CDA, or Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture. And unfortunately, C-CDA is designed to transfer entire documents, rather than a single piece of data or a simple list.

This means that today, when a physician requests just one piece of information about a patient, the system often needs to transfer multiple documents to fulfill the request. This process can often be inefficient, because a physician may have to search through many pages of information to find just one piece of needed data.

FHIR, on the other hand, makes it simple for anyone to receive only, and specifically, the piece of information requested. FHIR also allows access to smaller or “granular” data elements that are not included in some clinical documents.”

Is this going to revolutionize healthcare data like HIPAA did back in the early 2000s?