Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is a healthcare data exchange standard created by Health Level Seven or HL7. Having developed advanced tools for safe and secure data exchange such as EMR, Diagnostic Data, or PHI – FHIR has given a boost to the healthcare sector.
Let’s take a closer look at what exactly is FHIR and how it benefits the healthcare system.
What is FHIR?
FHIR, simply is an interoperability standard that creates sharing and exchange of clinical data and medical records between healthcare professionals and organizations using software that results in cost-efficient care.
Built with advanced technologies, FHIR is now widely used across healthcare enterprises. Essentially, it focuses on making system integrations easy and manageable with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for enhanced interoperability.
FHIR in Action
FHIR functions by offering a web-based architecture for health information sharing. It makes use of modern web standards and technology to facilitate smooth communication and interoperability between various healthcare systems. Here's an explanation of how FHIR functions:
1) Resource-Based Approach
- Information about healthcare is arranged by FHIR into resources, which are modular pieces. Aspects of healthcare data such as Patient, Observation, Medication, and Practitioner are represented by each resource.
- FHIR defines a standardized structure for resources that guarantees consistency in data representation.
2) RESTful APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)
- RESTful APIs are used by FHIR to facilitate communication across various healthcare systems. RESTful APIs use common HTTP methods for operations and have a client-server design that is stateless.
- For instance, a client system may utilize a PUT request to update an existing medical record, a GET request to obtain patient information, or a POST request to make a new observation.
3) HTTP-Based Communication
- HTTP serves as the foundational communication protocol for FHIR. This decision enables safe and standardized data sharing over the internet by making FHIR compatible with the current web infrastructure.
- Additionally, FHIR's interoperability with other web-based technologies is made easier by the usage of HTTP.
4) Using JSON or XML for Data Serialization
- JSON and XML are two popular serialization formats that FHIR supports. These formats are used to provide an organized and machine-readable representation of FHIR resources..
- JSON has gained popularity as a human-readable and lightweight format for serializing FHIR data.
5) Interdependencies Among Resources
- Because FHIR resources are meant to be connected, complex relationships can be represented in healthcare data. To link a certain medical condition to a specific patient, for instance, a Condition resource might provide reference to a Patient resource.
- The contextual interpretation of healthcare information is improved by this interdependency.
6) Flexibility & Expandability
- Due to its modular architecture, FHIR can have new resources added to it or old resources expanded. Because of its versatility, FHIR is able to support a broad variety of healthcare use cases and changing industry standards.
- FHIR can be customized by healthcare institutions to meet their unique requirements without sacrificing interoperability.
7) Smart on FHIR
- The "SMART on FHIR" specification is a collection of open standards and specifications that FHIR supports. It allows third-party applications, such healthcare tools and apps, to be integrated into the healthcare ecosystem.
- It creates a framework for developing safe and interoperable healthcare apps by fusing the FHIR standard with the SMART (Substitutable Medical apps, Reusable Technologies) platform.
Why is FHIR important for Healthcare?
For a long time, the Health Information Technology sector has suffered interoperability problems. With the advent of FHIR in 2014, the health IT industry was able to swiftly build applications for Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to share, access, and retrieve patient data faster.
Conceptualized as an experiment for HL7, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources soon enjoyed support from major EHR vendors because of its ability to fix real-time market demands. This was crucial in making FHIR a successful healthcare interoperability standard.
The main reason behind creating FHIR was to develop a precise framework that can be adapted to resources and interpreted by systems. This ability of FHIR makes it easy to adjust and align to different applications whether it is the cloud, mobile, or EHR-based data sharing. Need help with EHR integration? let's connect today! As a leading healthcare software development company, we create custom EHR solutions to automate key roles of healthcare practice, streamline the patient data and foster higher patient satisfaction.
The very basis of FHIR is built on the units of interoperability used as building blocks in systems to fix clinical, administrative, or infrastructural issues in the healthcare sector. Besides this, FHIR also provides software tools for patients, healthcare service providers, healthcare firms, electronic health devices, and also medication, care plans, diagnostics, and more.
What are the benefits of FHIR in Healthcare?
The concept of FHIR is to standardize the sync and exchange of healthcare data for suppliers, and providers who can seamlessly access patient data no matter which system they use. With FHIR in place, each resource is linked to a unique identifier that makes access to data across applications and devices smooth.
FHIR creates standard URLs which do away with the need to share individual documents and hence expedites the process while maintaining data accuracy and security.
Some of the benefits of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources are:
1) Improved clinical treatment: With access to EMR and patient-related data, clinical researchers can provide better care thereby improving the patient experience. This patient information is highly valuable for research and analysis in the healthcare industry. What makes FHIR stand out from the rest of the data sharing standards is its implementation with REST web services. REST can be easily implemented with open source technologies bringing the implementation costs down.
2) Patient-centric focus: Easy to implement and integrate across all devices and applications – FHIR aims to empower the patient. When data is shared with patients, they are in better control to manage and track their medical records which establishes their trust in the healthcare services and providers.
3) Automated Data structuring: It provides clinical support to providers and professionals in care services. The data sharing between providers and patients creates a value-based model wherein the emphasis is on care management, patient experience, and better coordination, and of course reduction in costs.
4) Real-time Analytics: Real-time data access is made possible by FHIR's use of REST web services. Be it claims data, vital medical records, surveys, or wearables, data is driven in different formats and is accessed from multiple sources with different scales and volumes. This feature is critical to healthcare analytics as it allows physicians to quickly make well-informed judgments. Real-time analytics have the potential to improve clinical decision support, spot trends, and raise the standard of care provided overall.
5) Supports Mobile Health (mHealth) Solutions: Because of its design, FHIR is well-suited for mobile health applications. By enabling people to view their health information, get notifications, and take an active role in their care, it promotes the creation of mobile solutions that are patient-centric.
6) Scalability and Adaptability: FHIR is flexible and scalable to changing healthcare requirements, thanks to its utilization of modern web standards and technologies like RESTful APIs. This guarantees that FHIR will be able to support new data types, technologies, and emerging healthcare standards, providing a future-proof foundation for data exchange and interoperability.
7) Ensuring Regulatory Compliance: The healthcare sector benefits from FHIR's unified approach to regulatory compliance. FHIR's promotion of a uniform data interchange framework aids healthcare institutions in complying with security and privacy laws. This simplifies the compliance procedure for healthcare organizations and providers while also protecting patient information.
Enhancing Healthcare Systems Through Seamless Interoperability
With FHIR implementation you can handle data management in a secure, fast, and reliable manner. It’s no doubt that FHIR has given a boost to healthcare IT by making the patient information accessible to not only patients but care providers and device makers. If you are a medical enterprise dealing with patient records, then FHIR can help you a great deal. For implementation or integrations get in touch with our healthcare IT experts.