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Colorado HIE Using FHIR APIs for Patient Health Data Viewing

The regional Colorado health information exchange is developing FHIR-based APIs to access patient health data in keeping with an industry-wide push toward health IT interoperability.

Health Data Exchange

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) announced today it has successfully laid the groundwork to employ a FHIR-based application programming interface (API) technology designed to improve health data access for patients in the state.

"Starting next month, CORHIO will add FHIR-based API access to the CORHIO environment," said CORHIO CEO Morgan Honea. "This enables access to one of the largest healthcare data environments in the United States. Our first use case is based on consumer-driven consent which will begin to bridge the divide between the clinical data ecosystem and the consumer-facing application domain."

The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard developed by HL7 International is designed to improve interoperability by ensuring consistent data access regardless of the health IT system making up the user’s infrastructure.

Essentially, FHIR operations function similar to an internet browser: users have access to the same information no matter which device they are using.

CORHIO’s FHIR-based API is still in the development stages, but a proof of concept offering user-configurable access to receive and view patient health data from the state’s information exchange is well underway.

CORHIO is using funding from the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to develop the necessary architecture to engage FHIR and improve clinical data access and interoperability.

Utilizing FHIR standards will also lay the foundation for the health information exchange to develop more applications in the future which will benefit patients and providers in its network.

The Colorado HIE also has plans to push health information exchange past clinical data to offer providers a more holistic view of their patients.

CORHIO intends to soon incorporate patient information including social determinants of health, such as housing, transportation, and financial situation, to its arsenal of data. This type of information would need to be collected from outside sources beyond the realm of hospitals and labs.

With such a wide breadth of information, the HIE would be better equipped to improve population health management and make informed clinical decisions tailored to the needs of specific patients.

CORHIO states it also intends to use developing FHIR-based APIs to support value-based healthcare in the state as MACRA implementation goes into effect this year.

This most recent health IT innovation is emblematic of the HIE’s commitment to modifying its technology to keep pace with new health data exchange advancements in the industry.

In 2016, CORHIO modified its HIE operations to develop a granular consent model for sharing behavioral health data between providers and allowing consumers to access behavioral health treatment information within the HIE.

The health IT development was a necessary adjustment to give patients control over whether their behavioral health data was legally sharable under HIPAA.

CORHIO set up a second data repository and intends to manage communications between the clinical data store and the behavioral data store through the Sequoia Project’s eHealth Exchange.

Adding consent-based exchange to its list of capabilities allows the Colorado exchange to promote informed patient care delivery and optimized health outcomes with both behavioral and physical treatments.

This latest effort to modernize its health IT will allow patients and providers in the state to stay up to date on developing industry standards for seamless health data exchange. 

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