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FHIR – How data helps healthcare

FHIR – How data helps healthcare

fhir healthcare

FHIR – this shortcut can make your tongue roll up pretty good. That is why everybody is calling it something else, that has a much better sound to it – “fire”. But was does hide between those letters? Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. It’s a next-generation standards framework, that can help a lot of people around the world. How? Though the power of the data for healthcare and interoperability between different systems.

Interoperability – what does it mean?

We have many different healthcare systems and applications. Which is a good thing. Local contexts need their own solutions and we have to be adaptable to the situation around us. But this also creates some issues. Mainly, many e-health applications that we use, can’t “speak” to each other. This is where the interoperability of the FHIR comes in. Thanks to this standard, mobile phone apps, cloud communications, EHR-based data sharing, server communication in large institutional healthcare providers, and much more can share the information between them. Thanks to this, solving real-life medical (and administrative!) problems becomes much easier.

What is more important, FHIR has an internet-based approach. Which even more simplifies the situation for the healthcare providers. Not only they can move the data between different systems. But also they can be sure, that all of them use the same version of the same data every time. Thanks to this, if, for example, a patient will get sick from the disease and this is recorded into his record, other software, that is using the FHIR framework and connected to the EMR can get immediate access to this data and doctors can react accordingly and on time.

Doctors thanks to FHIR and interoperability have a full picture of the patient. Not only the set of documents, which some of them can be outdated. Earlier information about a person they want to heal was kept across a couple (if not more) systems. Now, these pieces of software can exchange the data, making everything much easier to access.

Implementation – easy to use

FHIR was made to be fast and easy to implement. Why this is so important? Because if more healthcare software systems start to use this framework, more of them can start to exchange data between them. So basically, if more people start to use FHIR, the systems itself becomes more useful for everybody. That is why the implementation process has to go smoothly and not to be extremely complicated. All of the specifications are concise and easily understood. And this approach worked – many Electronical Medical Records platforms already started to use FHIR, and many of other healthcare systems are planning to do so.

Another very useful feature that FHIR provides is the evolutionary path of development from the previous standard framework – HL7. Thanks to this, older versions of software can coexist with the newer ones and leverage each other.

FHIR – Made for future of healthcare

Thanks to the way FHIR was created, it is easily adaptable for future possibilities. It can not only provide the data from the traditional health software like Electronic Medical Records, but also from the newer applications, that started working in e-health environment. A doctor would like to see if the patient started jogging every day to improve his cardio? Potentially, he can see this through the information from the wearable device (or just smartphone) that his patient is using. FHIR can contact the software he is using with the software of the device. Time is one of the most important resources for doctors. Using too many software systems not only can be discouraging but also, most importantly, time-consuming. Thanks to the future that is presented by FHIR, healthcare practitioners will have a much easier way to check the compleat story of their patients. And cure them better.

FHIR also allows the developers to create new applications for health in a much easier way. Now, when they are creating something, they can be sure, that data from their apps won’t be locked just in their software, but available for the whole e-health environment. We can see this already through such examples as a SMART (“Substitutable Medical Apps, Reusable Technology”) Health IT – an app platform for Healthcare. As you can see on their website:

https://apps.smarthealthit.org

There are already dozens of FHIR based applications for healthcare from many companies, institutions or hospitals. One app can estimate the risk of cardiac arrest, another can calculate the blood pressure. And all of them, thanks to FHIR can communicate with each other.  

If you are interested in knowing more about FHIR visit their website:

http://hl7.org/fhir/

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