Today the demand for better public health workflows, superior medical applications and virtual care is increasing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the whole world.  

The recent outbreak has created a greater need to have superior integration of technology with healthcare. The rising of standard REST APIs has changed the way in which the health sectors operate by enabling easy access to various applications and data. 

Our previous series of blogs on FHIR has touched on many crucial aspects of interoperability and how FHIR APIs adoption can influence the delivery of healthcare in today’s digital age. 

But what makes FHIR APIs better? Let’s review 

FHIR enables interoperability and leads to better healthcare delivery 

Interoperability has been a big topic of discussion in healthcare for some time now. Being able to share critical clinical data between disparate systems in a way that makes it easily accessible, while still retaining the security of sensitive patient health information, has always been one of the most challenging issues. 

FHIR drives interoperability by not only improving clinician efficiency but enabling safer transitions of care, saving clinician time, helping lower healthcare costs, maintaining patient privacy and reducing treatment and medication errors. 

FHIR revolutionises healthcare information sharing 

Globally, there is enormous interest in FHIR, as it promises to revolutionise sharing of healthcare information. Many initiatives have been set around this standard, encouraging overall creation of an open ecosystem where clinical apps can proliferate and be reused (see SMART on FHIR).  

FHIR is a steppingstone towards data democratization, first and foremost towards the patient and then towards the citizen/developer. Programmes like the Patient Access APIs rely on the newest HL7 standard, in this case, to give the individual the tools to gain medical insights and shop for care accordingly.  Public FHIR servers are available for programmers to reach and test their applications, with the hope of sparking innovation and competition in the market. 

FHIR community offers ongoing training and support 

The FHIR standard continues to evolve and from now onwards will be backwards compatible. Many foundational artefacts of FHIR 4 are now defined as “normative”, meaning, they will go through a standard development lifecycle before they can be modified.  

Due to its global prevalence, the FHIR community provides tooling, training and resources available with country-specific content. HL7 encourages and supports all adopters of FHIR, from established healthcare networks to entities just starting on their interoperability journey. 

Security in FHIR

With any environment that deals with Personal Health Information (PHI), security and privacy aspects are paramount. Even when FHIR does not define security capabilities, it indicates protocols and protection measures to adopt for sharing clinical resources. 

The SMART (Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies)on FHIR project has worked towards a platform where innovative apps can be built once and reused safely anywhere in the healthcare system. 

Concepts, resources and labels are valid tools that can be adopted to suit the variety of policies that require compliance according to regions, legislations and organisations’ guidelines. 

So why are FHIR APIs better? 

FHIR APIs are key to the interoperability journey, where data can flow seamlessly across organisations and settings, reaching the right provider at the right time.  

The consistency and semantically correct nature of FHIR resources encourage its adoption, not only amongst technology vendors but across national health systems. 

Finally, FHIR APIs is the first standard that brings the individual closer to their data, making inroads into real patient engagement as well as data contribution. 

How is Orion Health involved in FHIR? 

Orion Health has been working with the FHIR standard since the earliest versions and understands the value that it brings in an open and innovative ecosystem. 

The Orion Health FHIR APIs have evolved alongside the standard while providing a rich and modern longitudinal patient record via FHIR resources.  

Keeping up to date with the evolving FHIR standard, Orion Health is currently building FHIR R4 APIs. This will help clients to break down silos, take advantage of the ever-growing number of smart apps, easily integrate with third parties, and become an active player in the competitive and innovative API ecosystem. 

This enables a variety of workflows and use cases in integrated contexts, our extensive FHIR portfolio demonstrates Orion Health’s commitment to interoperability. 

Interested in learning more about how Orion Health incorporates FHIR?