FHIR fetched

New industry standard promising for industry buy-in

Written by Bob Bryan

Laura and I have seen many standards come an go over the years. Some have been instrumental, others have been flops. Long term success requires industry buy in. One thing that influences industry buy-in is practicality of implementation.

Anyone that works with the import, export or exchange of medical information is familiar with HL7 R2. It is a tried and true technology that has been in use for decades. It is an extremely robust technology but somewhat limited in scope. A transport mechanism that identifies the type of information being exchanged and entity to whom it concerns, but nothing abut the actual content.

HL7 R3 was an attempt to improve upon HL7 R2. The newer standard utilized more modern language and constructs. The transport mechanism could actually peek at the content, often times providing much more granular routing and processing of information. While good in theory, it has flopped for several reasons.

Version 3 HL7 was a technically disruptive technology that was lacking an equivalent business opportunity or need in the market. Adopting HL7 R3 for many meant dismantling working systems and investing time and resources for minimal gains.

FHIR, is a new standard that looks promising for industry buy in. It offers the benefits of self defining fields and work flow like XML, JSON and other popular standards and can be used for any purpose, not just medical language.

FHIR eliminates the overhead of SOAP and other protocols by using RESTful style approaches. It focuses on hitting 80% of the common use cases rather than the 20% of exceptions (80/20 rule). More important than the technical factors, FHIR addresses some real needs in the market.

·Mobile healthcare applications and the cloud

·Medical device integration

·More flexible custom workflow

Check back for more information on the evolution of this new exciting standard.

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