VA launches its first health API based on FHIR standard

The move to support veteran ability to interact with medical records and providers is the latest step in implementing the standard.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched its first health application programming interface based on HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard.

The VA Health API, which enables veterans to view their medical records, schedule an appointment, find a specialty facility and securely share their information with providers, is the latest effort by the VA to map healthcare data to industry standards.

“We are excited to announce this advancement in the way we deliver services,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a written statement. “Healthcare data interoperability plays a key role in all four of VA’s top priorities, from implementing the MISSION Act and modernizing our electronic health record, to transforming our business systems and delivering better customer service. VA is proud to serve as a leader and example in this field.”

According to the agency, health APIs will “support new clinician-focused applications and can also serve as a foundation for data sharing between health systems to support veteran care.”

Also See: VA launches platform for developers to build apps for vets

Earlier this year at the HIMSS18 conference in Las Vegas, the VA announced the Open API Pledge initiative, calling on providers to support current and future versions of FHIR.

“VA believes that open FHIR-based APIs are an essential component in a modern interoperability strategy, and that government and industry must collaborate to expand available FHIR resources and its use,” according to the agency.

In addition, VA says it is “committed to leveraging APIs to accelerate creation of transformational digital tools to support veterans as they engage with VA’s core health, benefits and memorial services.”

In March, the agency launched its Lighthouse API Management Platform, followed by a developer portal, a Benefits Intake API, as well as a Facilities API.

Earlier this year, the VA recruited Rasu Shrestha, MD, chief innovation officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, to lead the agency’s Open API Pledge initiative.

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