FHIR stands for fast health interoperability resources (FHIR). It is an interoperability standard designed by HL7 international organizations to exchange healthcare-related information. FHIR API is based on well-known web standards for data formatting and exchange, such as JSON and RESTful APIs.

With the adoption of FHIR Release 4.0.1 by CMS and ONC as a foundation for data exchange in March 2020, providers need to develop a solid strategy for using FHIR. Here is a step-by-step guide for harnessing the power of HL7 FHIR APIs.

1. Establish Minimum Data Requirements

Set the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) as the minimum data requirement. USCDI is a standard set of data classes and data elements for national health information exchange.

The USCDI has defined data classes that align with FHIR and consolidated clinical document architecture (CCDA). As your organization grows, you need to include more data sets to meet the needs of patients, clinicians, and administrators.

2. Focus on Your End Users

The EHR users in your organization will be the first to use FHIR. Many EHR vendors are already making their products FHIR compatible.

Using FHIR APIs, you can provide clinicians with information from other sources like labs and radiology departments without opening other applications. Patient-generated data from wearables or patient portals can also come into the EHR directly.

It’s vital to know that going beyond the EHR requires more understanding of FHIR and talent that can deploy and maintain a relatively large collection of API connections.

3. Use the Right Implementation Model

When your organization starts with FHIR, you can limit your risk by adopting a loose integration strategy. Focus on a small project that will allow your team members to understand the technology and how it works. Then you can develop a detailed plan for a more robust application.

However, if you’ve already defined your strategy and have the resources to implement a larger project, you can deploy a fully cloud-based application that will use the FHIR API.

4. Curtail the Compliance Pressure

Resist the temptation to jump in and adopt FHIR API because of the ONC and CMS regulations. Adopting new healthcare technology without proper planning and assessment of the risks and opportunities is dangerous.

You don’t want to have the same experience as the providers who adopted EHRs some years back simply because of government incentives. Many of them are itching to change their EHRs because they are not satisfied with the performance of the present EHR.

5. Work With an FHIR Specialist

Unless you have all the expertise and experience needed in-house, your organization can lower risk and boost developer efficiency by working with an expert.

It may be exciting to rush in and create a few FHIR API projects. But you will only reap the full benefits of the technology if you can develop and implement a strategy that will lead to full interoperability. Working with a healthcare integration expert will enable you to maximize the potential of FHIR by tapping into the consultant’s wealth of experience and specialized knowledge.

Connect With an FHIR API Specialist

For more detailed information on how to use FHIR in your organization, contact Lifepoint Informatics at 877.522.8378. Visit our contact page today to book a free consultation.