EHR vendors and the use of FHIR, a modern standard for health data exchange

Published: January 11, 2024 In The News

5th December 2023 – Contribution by Mohita Deshpande – Featured in Circle Square – November 2023

EHR vendors and the use of FHIR, a modern standard for health data exchange

Benefits of FHIR in healthcare

Interoperability of data: FHIR allows various healthcare IT systems and platforms to communicate with each other, regardless of which vendor the platform comes from. HCPs and other healthcare practitioners can access patient data regardless of where the data is located.

Standardization: FHIR establishes a standardized set of resources and data elements for exchanging healthcare information. Standardizing the format and structure of healthcare data through FHIR helps in maintaining consistency across the various systems in the healthcare industry.

Patient-Centered Healthcare: FHIR aids in allowing healthcare providers to have access to more information real-time. This helps them offer more personalized and effective care, enhancing the overall quality of healthcare services.

Modern apps: FHIR is also designed to support modern web and mobile applications, making it a suitable standard for developing patient-facing apps and other digital health tools. Through this, patients can easily access their health data and be more involved in their healthcare.

FHIR use cases within EHR architecture

Legacy alternative: As an alternative to C-CDA legacy systems with FHIR to facilitate information exchange through APIs, enabling stakeholders like pharmacies, insurers, and healthcare providers to access data in real time.

Patient portals: Integrating FHIR as a key element in patient portals, allowing patients to access their medical records through these portals or via third-party web solutions.

ML engines: Employing FHIR in the development of future machine learning engines to provide uniform, accurate methods for training AI using patient data acquired through FHIR.

Read-access: Utilizing the FHIR standardized HL7 framework for interactions with third-party vendors seeking read-access to clinical data from EHR systems.

Innovation testing: Using FHIR to support proof-of-concept testing, ensuring that real patient data adheres to FHIR and HL7 standards over HTTP, and is adequately logged and monitored.

FHIR future

FHIR will be a central feature of healthcare IT for the foreseeable future.

The challenge lies in adapting to an environment where standards and regulations are not only diverse but also continually evolving.

As EHR vendor competence in working with FHIR increases, this regulatory push and customer pull will be joined by vendors embracing FHIR as a tool for innovation and new revenue opportunities.

Mohita Deshpande, research analyst at Signify Research released this insight after company discussions with a set of global EHR leaders about their use and plans for the FHIR health data exchange standard. She reports that FHIR has gained popularity over the last decade and has become an instrumental tool for healthcare organizations, providers, payers, and health IT vendors by making data transfer considerably faster, easier, and more efficient. FHIR is free, open source, and combines the best features of HL7’s earlier standards with a common set of APIs so various healthcare platforms can communicate and share data across facilities in a way that each platform can understand. It also uses the latest web technology which helps to make it easier for developers to implement.

Source: Signify Research