Tuesday, January 26, 2016

FHIR Orlando: Getting up to code

FHIR Connectathon 11 took place in January 9 and 10 in Orlando, FL. As with every stop on the FHIR circuit, evidence of steady growth in the standard was in abundance. Look no further than the furious coding that took place in a crowded hotel conference room.

Credit: Bill Dickinson

At Dynamic Health IT, the focus of our FHIR development has been on clinical quality measures and patient-accessible data. We continue to refine our approach in these areas to match changes both in the standard and how it is understood and implemented in practice. Seeing the diversity of application using the standard– owing largely to potential for resources to be self-defined – reminds us why FHIR has become an increasingly essential building block in our product development.

Appropriately enough, the Connectathon has now expanded to eleven tracks – ranging from basic patient management to financial services to genomics. As a form of introductory track, implementers perform the following tasks in the "Patient" track (Track 1), against their own or an available FHIR test server:

  • Register a Patient
  • Update a Patient
  • Retrieve Patient History
  • Search for a Patient (using name)

HL7 International also offers four tutorials earlier in the week for those looking for a primer on the standard.

There were plenty of new coders in attendance in Orlando, which speaks to current developmental climate for FHIR. Roughly half of the attendees raised their hand when asked if this was their first Connectathon, It's worth noting that while FHIR is growing up, it is still a relatively young standard. Let’s not forget that HTML, often used as an exemplar for FHIR, was proposed in 1989 and is still undergoing major adaptations reflecting the evolution of the Web.

As Grahaem Grieve announced in Amsterdam, FHIR will now be a "working standard," reflecting the fact that it is being implemented in production environments, but still has many core elements subject to change. The move from a draft standard toward a "balloted" standard is due to take place officially sometime this spring.

This new-found maturity was evidenced in the shift toward implementing servers. There is now a major emphasis being placed on rigorous testing against servers. Vendors are presenting production-level products for testing FHIR servers and robust patient test decks are being rolled out to meet the demand.

It was great to again see a capacity crowd for this event (hopefully not a "FHIR hazard"). The ability of FHIR to realize all of its potential has much to do with the strong community it has built.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Welcome to 2016: HIMSS '16 Las Vegas, FHIR and more

The New Year is a time for reflection. At the pace the health IT world is moving, reflections must be followed quickly by actions.

As the calendar turned over, Dynamic Health IT took a moment to look back on a successful 2015. It was a year that included ambitious upgrades to our products, a wide range of fulfilling client work, a website refresh and some exciting new directions for our company (expanding our involvement in FHIR and PQRS, to name a few).

But we don't like to rest on our laurels for long. So we're also looking ahead to just a few of the things 2016 holds in store...

Photo: chensiyuan

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas - unless of course you attending a massive health IT convention. In that case, you're going to hear about it all over social media for five solid days (you're probably hearing about it already).

From February 29 to March 4, our industry will converge on the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Dynamic Health IT will be exhibiting with MaxMD and you can find us both at Booth 12251. We're once again looking forward to spending some time with old friends and collaborators, as well as hearing some new stories.  

We'll be sharing the fruits of our labor in 2015 and previewing some new developments for 2016, particularly in our Patient Portal and CQMsolution product lines.

Clinical Quality Measure Development
Having wrapped up a rigorous CQM development cycle in 2015 -  which included user interface upgrades and support for Cypress 2.6.1 - we are looking ahead to supporting measures for the 2016 reporting year and bringing our CQMsolution software into line with v2.7 and subsequent v3.0 Cypress upgrades. In addition to wider support for PQRS measures and other enhancement, this will be another year of big developments in CQMs.

CCDA 2.1 
This new draft standard for trial release (DTSU) of the Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture standard was released for comment last July. Vendors who are certifying under 2015 Edition will need to support both v1.1 and v2.1 releases and produce three flavors of C-CDA: CCD (v3), Discharge Summary and, for inpatient providers,  Referral Notes.

Just last week, DHIT took part in a Implementation Connectathon, exploring best practices for parsing and displaying these CCDAs alongside HL7 International, ONC and leading EMR systems. As HL7 continues to update the CDA framework, we will remain on the leading edge, updating our software so that our clients are well-positioned for the latest edition of EHR certification and industry standard changes in general. 

Over 2015, Dynamic Health IT was an avid participant in the FHIR community, attending Connectathons, releasing a new FHIR white paper and working toward FHIR development goals (including the testing of clinical quality measures with a FHIR server). In fact, as this post was being written, a contingent of our DHIT team was in Orlando for a FHIR Connectathon. 

This year promises another full slate of FHIR events, ongoing community dialogue and new steps toward wider implementation of the standard. FHIR is now considered a "working standard" and should continue to progress in the steps of maturity as outlined by architect of the standard, Grahame Grieve.

Please do not hesitate to share concerns or questions about the upcoming policy changes and requirements with DHIT. We can reach out to ONC and CMS on our bi-monthly calls and other contacts to ensure that you have the latest intel.

Look out for more updates from our shop in our February Newsletter.