The FHIR stands for Fast Healthcare Interoperable Resource. This emerging standard combines the best features of HL7 V2, HL7 V3, and CDA, while leveraging the latest web service technologies. The design of FHIR is based on RESTful web services. With REST... standard makes use of extensions to keep the standard simple. An extension allows for the inclusion of data that does not fit into the standard’s defined data elements. Within a given resource, extensions can be used to define new elements or they can be used to extend the data included in a defined element.
Extensions are defined on a server that should be available to anyone who will be receiving resources with the extension. Extensions are discovered using a URL. To add an extension to a resource, the following format would be utilized:
Extensions will be used widely in HL7 is a Standards Developing Organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to author consensus-based standards representing a board view from healthcare system stakeholders. HL7 has compiled a collection of message form... An HL7 standard that is short for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources and pronounced “Fire”. The standard defines a set of “Resources” that represent granular clinical concepts. The resources provide flexibility for a range of healthca... in an effort to stay focused on common workflows and reduce the complexity of the core standard. Workflows that are unique in nature would employ extensions to satisfy the requirements of the workflow. HL7 says that there can be no stigma associated with extensions and encourages all users to embrace them so the standard can remain simple while addressing all workflows.
For example, in the United States it is common for medical records to include religion; however, this is not the practice worldwide. The FHIR standard, which is a worldwide standard, will not include religion. The United States can, however, have its own extension for religion. A religion extension for FHIR might look like this:
The extension itself could be served up by a United States organization, such as the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) – Located within the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) coordinates nationwide ... or HL7. Anyone could reference the extension through the URL and identify the proper coded value for the patient’s religion in the patient resource.
Learn more about FHIR
Dave Shaver, Co-Chair of the HL7 FHIR Governance Board, provides an in-depth look at how FHIR will impact the future of health data exchange, including:
- What differentiates FHIR from other Health Standards?
- Where might FHIR be used?
- Where does FHIR go from here?
Download our HL7 FHIR primer as you plan a modern, integrated healthcare IT environment.
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