FHIR® or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources is a health IT standard that is helping to improve the day to day running of healthcare, by providing clinicians timely access to a patient’s electronic healthcare record.
It is one of the next generation HL7® standards in healthcare data integration, and is focused on decreasing interoperability costs and unlocking innovation in healthcare. FHIR® aims to speed application development and interoperability and boost information sharing in healthcare, especially on mobile platforms.
There are 3 main parts to FHIR®.
A content model (Resources). These are the basic units of interoperability such as a Patient, Condition or Practitioner. Individual Resources can be combined to create a scenario describing a particular clinical event.
An exchange specification. FHIR® provides guidance on how data should be moved between users – whether as real-time ‘API’ interactions, sharing Documents or exchanging Messages.
A large international community of experts – both Clinical and Technical – who give advice to users and help develop the specification.
FHIR® is now extending into the clinical knowledge domain, with sections that describe how data is exchanged in clinical decision support and quality measures, and how the clinical knowledge itself can be represented and shared.
How can clinicians and business analysts learn more about FHIR®? An open source tool called clinFHIR has been developed both to educate new users, and to assist the developers of FHIR®. It evolved in response to user need (where the users are the clinicians involved in the development of the FHIR® standard) and it serves 2 main purposes:
As a training tool to help people wanting to learn more about FHIR® visualize how the parts combine to represent clinical information in a structured and coded manner.
As a development tool with features to build some of the required artifacts, particularly as an aid to learning.
clinFHIR allows the user to view patient data and build models. In the video below, the scenario builder tool is demonstrated by assembling resources to create a problem list scenario.
clinFHIR is primarily an educational tool, that allows clinicians to learn how FHIR® can facilitate healthcare projects. Clinician-led health IT projects tend to be more fruitful than technically led ones.
To learn more, read the white paper FHIR® for Clinicians.
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