The delivery of quality healthcare in the modern world is absolutely dependent on the availability of quality information. This is true whether the information comes directly from a clinician, monitoring by a Care Coordinator or through an anonymised population analysis.
The problem is that data is held in many different places – often only by the system that collected it in the first place – and often the structure and content of that data is focused on the needs and formatting of the collecting system, rather than on formats more suitable for wider sharing.
The ability to exchange information between systems in a timely and understandable manner has always been important, and as the volume and type of health- related information increases, it is becoming even more important and difficult to achieve.
Historically, much health-related information exchange has been performed using standards developed by HL7, which has been in use since 1987. More recently complex standards like Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) and derivatives such as Consolidated CDA (CCDA) have become widely used but been outmoded.
FHIR is a new interoperability standard from HL7 whose purpose is to make it easier to exchange all healthcare data between systems in a straightforward yet secure manner. It is built around the concept of Resources – self-describing, discrete chunks of data that make sense in the healthcare environment.
This White Paper examines the drivers behind FHIR, gives an overview of what it is, how it will benefit healthcare information exchange and provides perspective on where FHIR is heading from Dr. David Hay, our resident FHIR evangelist.