We recently published an educational white paper that details how FHIR APIs have the potential to fundamentally change how health data is exchanged in the future. I encourage every health IT professional to download the detailed whitepaper here .
Following are key takeaways from the paper:
- As organizations merge and incorporate new facilities, more data is being exchanged between affiliated provider locations rather than with regional HIEs . As data exchange capabilities have grown, there is a need for additional methods of exchange.
- Access to data via an API allows the aggregation of medical history for use by applications chosen by the patient or the provider. EHRs are required by Meaningful Use to provide access to data via an open API.
- APIs using 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... allow applications to access health data at the source of truth in a standardized way. This type of access introduces new ways to interact with patient data that offers exciting, new opportunities.
- Data security is easier with FHIR because it utilizes RESTful web services , which has readily defined security protocols (HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the product of layering HTTP on top of the SSL/TLS encryption protocol with the goal of preventing “man in the middle” eavesdropping during network transport. See also: HTTP) along with commonly used authentication techniques such as OAuth 2.0.
- A FHIR API defines the layer on top of an Electronic Health Record (EHR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conform... that allows other applications to interact with its data. This layer defines a set of data elements that outside applications must use to send or retrieve data via the API. 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... will designate a guide for data semantics that will break down many of the prior barriers to API interoperability.
- Developers and applications using FHIR APIs will have access to the patient’s most current health record as a single source of truth, which is not possible with a traditional 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... v2 transaction. This new ability broadens horizons for patient-provider communication, care coordination, and workflow improvement.
- The combination of on-premise EHRs and cloud use requires an extremely flexible platform approach to managing health data. Strategic health IT leaders will look to handle complex data workflow that blend modern web APIs with proven HL7 v2 interfaces. Corepoint Integration Engine  provides the versatility providers need in a connected and open health data ecosystem.
For a more detailed look at how FHIR APIs are changing health data exchange, read the full whitepaper , which includes a section on frequently asked questions about FHIR and APIs.