While no one technology or protocol will be able to unify the nation’s electronic medical records and provide true interoperability, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is aiming to provide a reliable pathway into data about patient populations and allow that information to be readily available and serve as a base set of resources that, either by themselves or when combined, satisfy the majority of common use cases. FHIR is the younger sibling of interoperability standard HL7 and while the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) did not specify FHIR as a requirement for the API certification relating to EHR patient data retrieval and interoperability, it’s documentation reflects FHIR in its direction drawing a line from compliance to the evolving standard.
Part of the eagerness surrounding FHIR relates to the simplicity of the technology; it is based on a truly modern web services approach (one currently used by successful companies such as Facebook and Google). The approach makes it more straightforward for systems to exchange very specific, well-defined pieces of information. It is able to present discrete piecss of information such as individual lab results, demographic information, or medications as data representations called Resources which are the used by apps.
One of the early success stories of FHIR in action is the work Duke School of Medicine is doing with FHIR and Apple’s HealthKit to integrate standards-based apps. Duke’s director of mobile technology strategy Ricky Bloomfield, MD, stated that the apps “liberate electronic health records data.”
Nationwide interoperability is a major concern and revolves around health IT infrastructure. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is responsible for advancing connectivity and interoperability and promotes advancing health IT interoperability as a key element in helping transform the health care delivery system into one that provides better care, smarter spending and healthier people. Microwize Technology has been helping physicians to adopt EMR and achieve interoperability since 1997.