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HL7 Publishes Release 3 of HIT Standard FHIR for Trial Use

HL7 recently announced the availability of the latest iteration of the health IT standard and API FHIR.

HL7 FHIR

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Health Level 7 International (HL7) has published Release 3 of Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Standard for Trial Use (STU), the organization announced midweek.

“HL7 is pleased to work on the FHIR specification with many hundreds of partners, who are all implementing the specification to exchange data in service of the healthcare needs to their enterprises, their customers, and, ultimately, patients,” HL7 FHIR Product Director Grahame Grieve said in an official statement.

In the press release, the organization touted the benefits of the health IT standard and API to the healthcare community.

“For patients and providers, its versatility can be applied to mobile devices, web-based applications, cloud communications, and EHR data-sharing using modular components,” stated the organization. “As demonstrated most recently at the FHIR Applications Roundtable at Duke University and HIMSS17, FHIR is already widely used in hundreds of applications across the globe for the benefit of providers, patients and payers.”

In a corresponding an HL7 blog post, Grieve noted that hundreds of members of the FHIR community worked on designing the specification through over 2,400 Change Proposals. Primarily, Change Proposals emerged from 3 areas: implementation experience, alignment with other standards, and internal quality processes.

“The FHIR specification is very much the living record of the community of users who share the experience of trying to solve problems with it,” wrote FHIR Product Director Grahame Grieve. “It’s getting ever more difficult to provide meaning recognition to all the people and organizations who contribute.”

The newest FHIR specification benefits from the following changes:

  • Added support for clinical decision support and clinical quality measures
  • Broadened functionality to cover key clinical workflows
  • Further development of terminology services, and support for financial management
  • Defined an RDF format, and how FHIR relates to linked data
  • Incremental improvements and increased maturity of the RESTful API and conformance framework

Along with FHIR Release 3, HL7 has also posted the US Core Implementation Guide, which is designed to relay the minimum conformance requirements providers and users must meet to access patient data as outlined by the Argonaut Project, a collaborative effort between leading EHR vendors to aid providers with FHIR implementation, and the ONC 2015 Edition Common Clinical Data Set.

“We expect that the FHIR specification will continue to evolve in the future as we responds to the interoperability needs of the robust FHIR implementation community,” wrote Grieve. “Our priority is to advance the well tested platform parts of the FHIR standard to a full ANSI-approved normative standard.”

FHIR has been a rapidly evolving specification for application programming interfaces (APIs) touted by ONC and health IT community as a promising industry standard to advance healthcare interoperability since its inception. By promoting industry-wide standardization, FHIR encourages health data exchange interoperability among providers.

Earlier this year, HL7 invited the FHIR community to provide feedback to Release 3 developers regarding implementation and took user recommendations into account when making this most recent batch of edits.

The purpose of FHIR is to ease implementation, interoperability, and seamless health information exchange among providers through a simple framework subject to constant changes and new iterations.

HL7 is already planning a new release of FHIR Standard for Trial Use, which will prioritize advancing parts of FHIR to a full ANSI-approved normative standard. 

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