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CommonWell First to Use Argonaut Project FHIR Specifications

CommonWell is officially the first healthcare organization to integrate The Argonaut Project’s FHIR specifications into its core services.

CommonWell FHIR

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- CommonWell has set itself apart as an industry leader in an unprecedented integration of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), the health IT standard and application programming interface (API).

Today, CommonWell announced it has incorporated the first set of The Argonaut Project’s FHIR specifications into its core services, officially taking its place as the first national network to utilize FHIR-based health data exchange at such a level.

In doing so, the trade association touts the move as ushering in a new era of health data exchange expected to be simpler and faster than ever. Exchanging health data through FHIR services requires the most modern infrastructure currently available, and allows for more efficient data retrieval across networks.

With so many new specifications, technologies, and regulation modifications developing by the day, simplicity is an indispensable advantage. FHIR services will provide much-needed standardization across providers in an ever-changing industry.

Another particularly valuable benefit of implementing FHIR-based health data exchange is the potential to share discrete segments of data instead of exclusively larger, more comprehensive summaries of EHRs common by today’s standards. Setting the industry on track to achieve more nuanced data exchange is integral to the movement toward entirely interoperable electronic health record sharing.

CommonWell will be using FHIR specifications to implement the Find Document References and Retrieve Document capabilities and related OAuth2 security specifications for Document Responders as developed and recently published by the Argonaut Project earlier this week.

Argonaut specifications will also be a guiding principle for provider directories to optimize the network through directed queries.

CommonWell will incorporate these specifications alongside IHE XCA specifications already utilized by several EHR technology vendors in a move that will enable CommonWell members to decide if they prefer to use modern FHIR-based EHR exchange specifications or older XCA-based standards.

The capability to accommodate both sets of specifications is an advantage specific to CommonWell services. A dynamic approach to data exchange specifications ensures information sharing remains inclusive and viable across providers.

“CommonWell has been using FHIR for patient identity management purposes since it first built its core interoperability services, even before the launch of the Argonaut Project,” said CommonWell Executive Director Jitin Asnaani,. “By leveraging these latest FHIR specifications, CommonWell is taking the first of many steps to leverage FHIR for clinical interoperability, and plans to support additional specifications later this year.”

CommonWell’s progress has not gone unnoticed. The organization recently became an official member of the industry-leading Health Level Seven International (HL7) — a top distinction for FHIR specification technology enablers.

Through achieving these milestones, the organization has demonstrated its dedication to leveraging existing health IT standards in productive and meaningful new configurations aimed at improving interoperability between providers and ushering EHR technology into a new age of efficiency and accessibility.

CommonWell has also recently made waves in the healthcare industry with its substantial advancements in the realm of API development.

As with FHIR specifications, APIs are considered an essential ingredient for progress in the effort to modernize health information exchange. In a development proving CommonWell is once again leading the charge toward industry-wide EHR interoperability, CommonWell members including Cerner and PatientPing announced their intention to develop several new healthcare APIs for the health data exchange platform.

Considering CommonWell involves nearly 9,800 providers over 5,000 live sites, these APIs will be put to use on a massive scale.

Combined with their plans to develop new APIs, CommonWell’s integration of the most advanced and up-to-date FHIR specifications sets the pace for all other health information exchange networks of its kind. 

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