Efforts to begin to create a governance structure for FHIR

The Carequality unit of the Sequoia Project is seeking help in developing a governance structure for the FHIR data exchange standard.

The unit, which develops international standards for transferring clinical and administrative data between software applications, is asking for participation from the healthcare community on the endeavor.

Carequality has established FHIR Implementation Guide Technical workgroups to focus on specifications and security, as well as policy workgroups that will focus on creating the “rules of the road” for data exchange.

The existing work of Carequality already supports the exchange of 14 million documents each month, serving 600,000 care providers, 35,000 clinics and 1,250 hospitals.

Also See: Commonwell, Carequality announce collaboration efforts

FHIR is a standard that can be used by health information technology systems for exchanging data in a way that enables programmers to create new interfaces to support new use cases for providers, such as development of a new app to make it easier for clinicians to access a medication list, explains Dave Cassel, executive director at Carequality.

“FHIR gives the standard on how the app would get the specific medication,” he adds. “The standard communicates to outside systems to tell you how to request the medication list.”

In healthcare standard development terms, FHIR is still relatively early in maturity, and there is not yet data on the level of use of FHIR, but it is usable in many ways, Cassel adds.

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Over time, Carequality anticipates having a single on-ramp for providers, vendors, payers, consumers and social services to use FHIR for numerous purposes, such as supporting a population health management program, Cassel believes.

“The overarching goal of all healthcare interoperability projects is to improve outcomes, lower costs and broadly improve overall population health. We believe that adoption of FHIR in the Carequality Interoperability Framework can advance all of these goals by improving the availability of usable clinical information, expanding the scope of exchange and significantly lowering the costs of participating in interoperable exchange,” he adds.

Individuals interested in participating in one or both workgroups are invited to send an email at admin@carequality.org and indicate which work group is of interest.

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