What FHIR might mean for health providers

The framework of FHIR could supposedly allow for greater interoperability.

Interoperability has always been a large part of improving health IT functionality, and the Fast Health Interoperability Resources standard, also known as FHIR, could simplify the way electronic health records mesh with existing systems. The standard would reportedly make it easier for both developers and providers to work with electronic resources to create a more successfully connected health IT ecosystem.

While the full fruits of the FHIR project could be several years away, architects Health Level 7 believe that the standard would create a universally adaptable framework for different systems.

As the official FHIR website states, the standard could improve mobile integration and better organize medical data through a list of resources. These are separated into several categories, including workflow resources for patient management and scheduling, among other things.

A Healthcare IT News poll recently found that interoperability was one of the top subjects at the HIMSS16 event, alongside big data and security concerns. Proponents of FHIR seem to believe the new standard will be simple enough for easy data exchange yet substantial enough to lay the foundation for a greater impact in the coming years.

That's what Brian Ahier of Medicity and Jean Doeringsfeld of the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network argue in a piece for Government Health IT. They said that the focus on granular data rather than documentation represents "a step forward" for the way exchanges currently operate.

"The proposed standard represents a smarter way to use technology by building on what is already in place while also providing the flexibility to meet future business needs," the authors wrote.

Such improvements as this could also work with the initial efforts healthcare entities have made to promote meaningful use and other standards. Healthcare consulting firms offer strategic advisory based on in-depth assessments of your current approach to IT.

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