Data Book Podcast: Talking FHIR with HL7

This week’s guest: Chuck Jaffe, Ph.D., M.D., the CEO of HL7.

This week on Data Book, our hosts Tom Castles and Jack Murtha talk FHIR (pronounced “fire”) with the CEO of HL7, Chuck Jaffe, Ph.D., M.D.

The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is a draft standard created by the non-profit Health Level Seven International (HL7). It’s intended to further interoperability in healthcare. Founded in 2014, it has incrementally brought together millions of records, and continues to do so, even now.

FHIR has been expanding, especially recently, according to Jaffe’s recent conversation with Inside Digital Health™.

“This is growing over at least the last year and a half so that organizations and health systems around the world have leveraged the FHIR platform until it drives interoperability,” said Jaffe. “I suspect that the mass of institutions and entities that have enabled FHIR will have to grow once that mass has been achieved. I think the ability to reduce the barriers to interoperability will accelerate.”

The FHIR Accelerator program was launched, and it recently began incorporating the Gravity Project and its social determinants of health (SDOH) into the mix of digital variables.

But the real hurdles that remain to true interoperability are not technological, Jaffe said.

“Policy always trumps technology, and we'll find that regulation, inertia and other concerns will continue to be a barrier toward thorough interoperable data exchange,” he said. “The key that is so important in our community is being able to understand what the words and concepts mean. And that development is accelerating in parallel to the data exchange environment in which FHIR is now expanding its use and capability.”

Take the temperature of FHIR. Check out the fifth episode of the fourth season of your favorite digital healthcare podcast, above, or on iTunes.

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