How Does FHIR Fit into Recent Interoperability Initiatives?

Sara Heath | Health IT Interoperability | May 18, 2016

Over the past few months, APIs have been the talk of the healthcare industry, pushing HL7's FHIR into the spotlight for interoperability.

Plenty of talk supports the position that application programming interfaces (APIs) will enhance health data interoperability, particularly a leading API standard known as FHIR. Health Level 7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) is a data standard that helps different health applications work on the different interfaces that exist in the industry (such as an Epic Systems or a Cerner interface).

Much like how webpages work despite whether you use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, or the Twitter app works on both iPhones and Android phones, FHIR apps aim to work across all platforms. Because FHIR is arguably one of the most well-known efforts out there toward promoting API development, it is important to keep tabs on the moves it is making in the healthcare space, as well as how it relates to recent industry changes. Below, breaks down of some of the most recent new surrounding FHIR:

At the 2016 HIMSS conference, ONC announced two interoperability app challenges aimed at promoting the FHIR app economy. With prizes totaling $625,000, the competition tasked participants with creating patient-facing and provider-facing apps. The competition also included a contest for an app discovery site which would act as a marketplace for interoperable apps. According to ONC’s Karen DeSalvo, these competitions aimed at promoting app interoperability to help providers and patients seamlessly exchange health data across different interfaces...