FHIR is the acronym for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. FHIR was created by HL7 in 2012 and built on the same web technologies that are currently used by other organizations.

According to Health IT.gov, the specification was developed in response to the demand for a better, faster, and easier method of exchanging ever-increasing health data.

In the past, health IT was encumbered by long development times and high costs, which reduced the industry’s amount of innovation. But with FHIR, there’s potential to speed up innovation, eliminate data silos, and reduce application development duration and cost.

Those who want to start developing with this standard need to understand FHIR resources. Here are five things you need to know about them.

1. Understand the Resource Object

To work effectively with FHIR, you have to understand the Resource Object. Resources serve as building blocks for each data exchange. Although FHIR has an extensive list of resources, they can be classified into six categories:

  • Administrative – for identifying everyone involved in providing care
  • Clinical – for exchanging patient’s clinical records
  • Workflow – for showing the steps in a healthcare process
  • Conformance – for coordinating the creation of formulas for FHIR
  • Financial – for managing the monetary elements of healthcare
  • Infrastructure – for handling tasks and resources to meet internal FHIR needs

2. Know the Standard Resource Structure

All resources must conform to a standard model. The only aspects that change from one resource to another are the content and the associated extensions.

This is the standard structure that all HL7 FHIR resources have:

  • Resource Type: This specifies the resource model, which can be a medication, patient, allergy, etc.
  • Human Readable Section: The part of the message that humans can read; usually it is in XHTML format
  • Identifier Section: A unique URL that identifies every resource and reveals its resource type
  • Extension Section: The part that defines extensions needed to support specific clinical workflows
  • Contained Resources: Resources used to identify other resources or to process transactions
  • Resource Content: The main content of a resource. For instance, a patient will have resource content that includes name, address, phone, next of kin, guardian, etc.

3. FHIR Has Wide Reaching Adoption and Support

Investing in new FHIR projects now is a smart idea because the specification has garnered a lot of traction.

Healthcare industry regulators in North America, Europe, and Australia are working actively on FHIR projects. The leading EHR vendors with a substantial share of the market are implementing FHIR APIs and have FHIR app stores.

The drug formulation industry now participates in major FHIR conferences through a consortium of pharmaceutical companies. Large healthcare providers are also developing SMART FHIR apps to improve the functionality of their EHR systems.

4. FHIR Brings in a Novel Architecture in Health IT

With FHIR, developers can now build applications stores and micro-services. This is a bold departure from the monolithic systems that currently serve as legacy systems. These old systems took a long time to develop, deploy, and upgrade.

In contrast to that, FHIR enhances the development of an ecosystem of interconnected healthcare apps, which may come from different developers. Essentially, FHIR allows providers to select the best components, built by various vendors, to create an interconnection of healthcare apps.

5. FHIR Enhances Data Storage and Analytics

The use of FHIR for accessing data in legacy systems and sending messages from one app to another are among its most common uses. However, it is a valuable tool for storing and analyzing data, and it can serve as a backend data model for new applications.

When developers use an FHIR backend, there’s faster delivery of usable applications. FHIR solutions also provide confidence about the future so investing in FHIR development is a wise decision.

Find Out More About Using FHIR Resources for Healthcare Applications

Get in touch with Lifepoint Informatics through our contact page or give us a call at 877.522.8378 to schedule a free demo of our FHIR applications and interfaces.