What exactly is FHIR?
FHIR is the latest standard to be developed under the HL7 organization. Pronounced ‘Fire’ , FHIR stands for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. It is a standard for exchanging healthcare information electronically and combines the best features from HL7 v2, HL7 v3, and CDA, while also adding several significant improvements over previous standards.
FHIR includes data formats (resources on patients, medications, encounters, etc.) as well as application programming interfaces (APIs) that exchange these resources. It was developed to become a dominant standard that allows external parties to access information from EMRs through the use of applications. It also allows third parties to create their own applications that can access these servers. For example, EHRs such as Epic and Cerner, have their own FHIR app stores where providers (doctors, clinicians, etc.) as well as patients can access their data through these 3rd party applications. FHIR standards utilize SMART (Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies), an authentication framework for the connection of 3rd party applications to EMRs.
Why choose FHIR?
Comparatively, FHIR offers several advantages over existing HL7 standards:
- Ease of implementation is at the core of the FHIR standards design. Therefore, it is quick and easy to create interfaces
- It offers many implementation libraries, providing the resources necessary to jump-start interface development
- Specification is free for use, and presents no restrictions, also providing a basic set of data resources that can satisfy most use cases.
- In many cases, FHIR’s base resources are robust enough to be used as-is, but they can also be adapted to meet more specific requirements.
- FHIR “modules”, or “resources”, can be combined in order to present more holistic data sets, and allows for a more manageable approach to providing clinical solutions.
Iguana and FHIR
With evolving care processes also comes evolving data standards. FHIR is the next step in the development of healthcare data standards, iNTERFACEWARE and Iguana have been at the forefront of developing integration solutions using FHIR. From telemedicine, to e-referrals, to machine learning, iNTERFACEWARE has implemented production ready FHIR solutions worldwide, allowing care providers to use their data more effectively.
To improve the user experience when working with FHIR, we’ve expanded the functionality of the Translator in our Iguana integration engine to include an API Designer, a cloud based tool that makes it easy to build Web APIs with Iguana. This designer enables users to build custom APIs to work with FHIR, as well as create APIs with custom data models. Born out of our considerable experience working with FHIR, the aforementioned tools will save developers significant time when building interfaces that use FHIR while also improving both the usability and effectiveness of those interfaces.
To learn more about how we can help you with your data integration efforts, click here!