There are a lot of questions and confusion in the industry surrounding FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources).
What is FHIR? Fundamentally, FHIR is a new interoperability data exchange standard being advocated by the HL7 organisation. The claim is that this new standard combines the best of HL7 v2, v3, RIM and CDA standards with the latest in web standards (RESTFul web services) in a way that can both coexist with your current standards and be implemented easily.
A large number of organisations are asking if they should be implementing FHIR as a messaging standard among their distributed applications and partners, but not many are asking if they are actually capable or ready to do so. The following is a short check-list to evaluate whether FHIR is a reasonable alternative for your organisation. Any group looking to move to the adoption of this standard should go through the following FHIR Drill, answering honestly whether you have:
- An organisational IT ideology committed to being on the forefront of interoperability and the flexibility to change with the evolving standard.
- An interest from trading partners to engage in FHIR messaging.
- An interfacing team that has both the bandwidth and technical acumen to commit to learning a new framework centered around resources and document exchange vs. purely event driven messaging.
- A vendor partner committed to supporting and staying up to date with FHIR (like Orion Health).
- An integration engine that is capable of consuming and producing RESTful web services that end-applications can consume.
- A message standards library within the integration engine capable of both parsing and manipulating XML and JSON data structures.
- A mapping tool capable of translating from other standards into FHIR, such as HL7 v2 to FHIR. These older standards aren't going away anytime soon and all integrations will need to be able to play in both spaces.
If you believe your institution has all of the above pieces in place, then I highly recommend researching FHIR further on this website.
Is your organisation ready to tackle FHIR? What other FHIR Drill questions would you ask before embarking on the journey?