How SMART on FHIR Grew Vendor Support for Interoperable HIT Apps

Sara Heath | EHR Intelligence | February 18, 2017

The SMART on FHIR team explained in a recent JAMIA article how they gathered EHR and health IT vendor enthusiasm around their interoperability initiative.

Kenneth Mandl, MD, and Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD, both big players in creating SMART on FHIR, a major interoperability project, have recently recounted key details to the project and its successes in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. This paper first explained the project, stating that the Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies (SMART) project aimed to create a platform on which developers could make healthcare applications that could run interoperably across different health IT systems.

To make such an initiative effective, the SMART team would have to garner enough momentum and vendor interest to make a difference on interoperability in the health IT industry. Using a new set of web standards, SMART workers developed a method by which developers could adopt a standard set of app models that would work across the different health IT systems. “We adopted contemporary web standards for application programming interface transport, authorization, and user interface, and standard medical terminologies for coded data,” the paper explained. “In our initial design, we created our own openly licensed clinical data models to enforce consistency and simplicity.”

Combining with HL7’s Fast Health Interoperability Resources, a project which “focused on providing an [application programming interface] for healthcare that was ‘simple and easy to implement and manage,’” strengthened SMART by leveraging other industry knowledge. The SMART on FHIR team saw the results of its labor at the Healthcare Informatics Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2014 conference when four health IT and EHR vendors reported how SMART on FHIR worked with their systems...