Wednesday, October 7, 2015

FHIR Connectathon 10: Atlanta

The DHIT team made the trip to Atlanta last weekend for FHIR Connectathon 10. As the Connectathon series moves into double digits, there is a sense of building momentum in the project. The knowledge base for this diverse group of participants continues to grow with each event.
A quick review: FHIR is a set of clinical interoperability resources based on common web standards, including XML and JSON, with a RESTful protocol in which each FHIR resource has knowable URL. FHIR aims to provide the tools necessary for interoperability with enough flexibility to adapt to a wide variety of use cases.
Connectathon 10 took place October 3-4 and featured 6 themes (or tracks) around which real-world scenarios were built for participants to implement against a FHIR server:
  1. Basic patient management
  2. Terminology Services
  3.  Financial Resources
  4.  EHR record lifecycle architecture
  5. Structured Data Capture
  6. Scheduling
The tracking allowed participants to collaborate more easily by identifying finding complementary skills and experience. DHIT’s involvement centered on themes 1, 2, 4 and 6.

Theme 1, which deals with basic patient search and management, is designed for those new to FHIR. Theme 2 involves terminology services and is slightly more advanced, consisting of searching value sets, validating codes against a value set such as LOINC, SNOMED CT, or a FHIR value set. Theme 4 is EHR record lifecycle architecture. This theme is dedicated to auditing lifecycle events such as Patient Create or Update, Appointment Create, etc. Theme 6 concerns the scheduling of appointments using the FHIR protocol: available “slots” can be created for appointments to fill.

The DHIT team’s overarching goal during the Connectathon was to make Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) work with FHIR. We laid the groundwork for CQM calculation by matching the HL7 Health Quality Measures Format (HQMF) templates to FHIR resources. The FHIR server was then used to populate patient demographics data, encounters and procedures.

In our CQMsolution software, we created a quality measure report using a patient search against the FHIR server to grab the necessary patient data. To retrieve the necessary codes used by the measures, we performed a validation before measure calculation for sections retrieved on each patient. After code validation passed, the calculation was completed and the results were displayed on screen. 

The FHIR mantra: button spotted at Connectathon 10
in Atlanta, GA
One of the primary benefits – and most enjoyable aspects – of a FHIR Connectathon is the opportunity for vendors to meet and test out connections among themselves. Each new touchpoint is an opportunity to break new ground in interoperability. The Connectathon environment creates a multiplier effect as these connections take place, through the testing of code and sharing of ideas.

DHIT has the chance to team up with several groups, including collaboration on patient search with Cerner and appointments with Mirth. We also had the chance to meet and discuss future development goals with leading ‘FHIR Chiefs’ Graham Grieve, David Haye and Ewout Kramer. Our discussion focused on the evolution of FHIR servers to facilitate efficient CQM calculation.

By providing this chance to share ideas with FHIR leadership and solve problems collaboratively with other implementers, FHIR Connectathons capture the spirit of interoperability as well as any event today.

We look forward to expanding the role of FHIR in our product development.