Four health information technology vendors on December 13 successfully demonstrated use of the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) data exchange standard to import data into electronic health records systems, then enable healthcare consumers to access a consolidated list of their medications.

The vendors included Allscripts, CareEvolution, Cerner and Epic. They transmitted third-party applications for consumers created by CareEvolution, Medisafe and RxRevu. Through discussions that originated this past June, these vendors and others discussed ways to use patient apps to enable consumers to request their medication information from their providers, says Tricia Lee Wilkins, pharmacy advisor and health IT specialist in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which coordinated the demonstration.

The CareEvolution app aggregates a medication list to enable primary care providers to be aware of medications that a patient may have been prescribed by another provider. The Medisafe app reminds a consumer to take medication at the appropriate times, and the RxRevu app is designed for patients concerned with medication costs by providing coupons or suggestions for lower cost alternative medications.

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The demonstration showed that such connectivity works in a test environment, Wilkins notes. The next step is to work with real health systems and patients in 2017. Insurer Anthem, providers Trinity Health and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and the National Partnership for Women & Families will participate, along with other stakeholders.

The National Partnership for Women & Families is an advocacy organization working with ONC and the vendors to provide patient and provider perspectives on the value of the demonstration and suggestions on how apps can be made to be more user-friendly.

“This is a nice example of how the federal government can coordinate an industry effort,” says Wilkins.

The ONC-sponsored demonstration is just one of many initiatives underway to further develop FHIR. For instance, Indiana-based Regenstrief Institute, a pioneer in development of electronic health records, computerized order entry and health information exchange technologies, in August launched a pilot to test apps designed to exchange healthcare data electronically.

Health information exchanges have not been as successful as envisioned, and many areas across the nation do not have access to a functional HIE, said Titus Schleyer, DMD, an investigator at Regenstrief. The new approach is use to point-to-point HIE, which Schleyer called, “almost an instant HIE.” By leveraging (FHIR), researchers will develop apps that enable organizations using FHIR to more easily share data.

This can be done by merging data from a patient’s electronic health records with the patient’s additional information already stored in the Indiana Network for Patient Care, a Regenstrief-built health information exchange.

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