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Da Vinci Project to Advance Healthcare Interoperability, FHIR Use

Da Vinci Project participants including Cerner, Epic and Allscripts will leverage FHIR to improve healthcare interoperability.

More than 20 healthcare stakeholders are participating in an initiative to improve interoperability through FHIR use.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- A private sector-led initiative — the Da Vinci Project — is poised to accelerate advancements in healthcare interoperability by promoting use of the HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) data standard across the industry.

More than 20 EHR vendors, health plans, and healthcare organizations including Allscripts, Epic, Cerner, and Surescripts helped to establish the HL7-hosted initiative.

Overall, the project is centered on minimizing the development and implementation of one-off solutions between partners to help medical groups and health plans improve care quality, reduce hospital costs, and boost health outcomes. Streamlining health data exchange through FHIR will help to reduce duplicative testing and enable better-informed care delivery in support of this mission.

Da Vinci Project members are currently working to improve health data exchange for value-based care arrangements through two test cases.

The first test case involves 30-day medication reconciliation programs. The objective of the test case is to create a simple clinical workflow that allows healthcare providers to indicate that a 30-day medication reconciliation was completed for a specific patient on a specific date.

The second test case enables providers to request and receive information about health plan coverage requirements at the point of service.

Widespread standards adoption and use is at the crux of the initiative.

“Da Vinci is a collective initiative of concerned, diverse market leaders that include payers, providers, HL7 and EHR vendors that understand how critical it is to put forward and employ standards that promote data exchange in real time,” said Rush System for Health and Rush University Medical Center CIO Shafiq Rab, MD.

“These efforts will enable data to be available at the right time to the right person every time securely,” Rab added.

While HL7 hosts the initiative, the Da Vinci Project operates independently. However, HL7 workgroups offer members feedback related to FHIR standards to advance the initiative’s objectives.

HL7 leaders also offer support for the project’s implementation guides, which will become open industry standards.

“This level of collaboration across payers and providers is unprecedented and will have a tremendous impact on how we use data to improve health care while keeping the architecture simple,” said Rab.

“Da Vinci members are selecting the most relevant use cases that will showcase the effectiveness of its solutions,” he continued. “The initial success has been over joyous, and I believe that such act of selflessness is what our nation needs.”

Member organizations govern the Da Vinci Project with steering and operating committees.

The operating committee handles day-to-day activities for the initiative, while the steering committee approves business case priorities, consultant resources, and contracts necessary to complete projects. The steering committee gathers feedback and recommendations from the operating committee to complete projects.

“We are thrilled with the initial participation and interest in the work of the Da Vinci Project,” said Point-of-Care Partners payer practice lead Jocelyn Keegan. “

“We believe the flexibility and specificity of HL7 FHIR and its underlying resources will enable our partners to define targeted use cases to power standard-based approaches to share the minimal data required by these new contracts and partnerships,” she continued.

Common industry standards such as FHIR provide the basis for interoperability across networks and healthcare organizations. Implementation guides and reference implementations from the Da Vinci Project will lay the groundwork for widespread standardization.

“The associated data-sharing capabilities support physicians in a number of ways, including enabling them to see patients' benefits in real time, improving medical record exchange and reporting, informing clinical decisions at the point of care, and helping them reduce administrative burden,” said UnitedHealthcare Senior Vice President of Clinical Data Services Sagran Moodley.

Large health systems including Sutter Health have signed on to the project to promote standards use across healthcare organizations and payers.

“We're working through the Da Vinci Project to look at using FHIR to support data exchange between our provider organization and payers,” Sutter Health Clinical Informatics Director of Privacy, Information Security, and Interoperability Steven Lane, MD told EHRIntelligence.com.

“There really is a move afoot to transition the underlying kind of technology and structure of the data that we're sharing,” he concluded.

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