SMART Health IT Project releases update to its app gallery

The SMART Health IT Project has developed an updated version of its app gallery, enabling those looking for apps based on the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources to have an easier time looking and comparing.

The Computational Health Informatics Program at Boston Children’s Hospital unveiled the refreshed gallery as a beta release at this week’s HIMSS17 conference and is now live. The new look can be found here.

In June 2016, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology awarded SMART Health IT a grant to support enhancement of the SMART App Gallery, which provides a marketplace that enables app developers to share apps that use FHIR to achieve various forms of information exchange. Open, free and widely adopted application programming interfaces (APIs) can be used for many purposes to connect to clinical systems.

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The new gallery gives providers a way to discover and compare these apps to see which ones will work with their information systems and meet their needs, says Dan Gottlieb, who works on the project on behalf of Boston Children’s Hospital. Several vendors of electronic health records systems have built SMART APIs into their products through the Argonaut Project, and the new version of the gallery will become the official app directory of the HL7 FHIR Foundation.

“The first shot at this gallery was just quick and dirty; this one is a lot more polished,” Gottlieb says. It offers improved accessibility to customize its use for visitors, and improved categorization to aid in searches for specific functionality, such as where the app has been tested, for which clinical specialty it’s intended , and whether it is a commercial product for purchase or open source that can be used for free. For commercial apps, information on pricing is available, although the gallery does not function as a store at which purchases can be made, he adds.

“An important new feature is the ability to launch the app against a sample dataset, so someone coming to the site can test an app and how it will work with a vendor’s EHR,” Gottlieb says.

The SMART Health IT Project is planning additional improvements to the gallery to make it easier to use, he adds. He’s hoping to improve searching functionality so that users can more effectively look for the specific app that meets their needs.

Apps based on FHIR are easy to program and enable users to get data from records systems with relative ease, thus offering the hope for easier data sharing with consumers or between providers and their clinical information systems.

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