So I think there are some teething issues with FHIR.
It got me thinking about an idea I had many years ago which I pitched to the leader of the opposition in Ontario one time. The idea didn’t go anywhere but it really would make sense.
If you want to bring a new technology solution into the market it helps to identify a clear need and make a solution which solves that need more effectively than any other solution.
So this is the need.
As a patient and for my family, I would like to be able to get access to all the medical documents that are generated when I go to my doctor, such as when I get an X-Ray. I don’t need all those documents in structured format.
What is the most wonderful thing about paper medical records?
They are portable and they are durable.
It doesn’t matter what EMR a physician has – paper medical records can be read by anybody.
Why are we busting our butts trying to get 100% structured data when we could be going for low hanging fruit?
There are lots of things you cannot do with paper medical records but let’s think more about our half full rather than our half empty glass.
We have three electronic document formats which almost as durable and portable as paper:
- Plain text
These formats are not perfect – but they are good enough.
If the effort on FHIR got refocused on just one single goal:
Make it possible with 4 days of effort on any existing EMR to open it up so that every patient can obtain access to their own medical records in human readable format.
I think this is do-able. It has huge value, for little cost. It’s something that could easily be retrofitted on to every existing EMR. People can stop fretting as to whether this is better or worse than improving V3 methodology or sticking with V2. We can just do it and make the world better.
What do you think?