Is FHIR Adoption About to Take Off?

New ONC data suggest 82 percent of hospitals have products developed by FHIR users.

As healthcare vies for seamless data exchange, the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard has emerged as a key tool. But as many in health information technology (IT) understand, even the most promising technologies and specifications mean little without adoption and implementation. Luckily, it appears that more and more health IT developers — and, consequently, their provider clients — are leveraging FHIR.

The 10 certified health IT developers with the largest market shares, ranging from Allscripts and athenahealth to Cerner and Epic, all use the FHIR specification, according to new data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Roughly 82 percent of hospitals and 64 percent of clinicians, it turns out, use these companies’ certified software programs.

>> READ: 7 FHIR Facts You Need to Know

What’s more, 32 percent of health IT developers are using FHIR Release 2, according to the data. As noted above, many of these organizations have clinical reach that extends far beyond their smaller competitors.

“While these data are encouraging, it’s not time to pop any champagne,” wrote Steven Posnack, M.S., M.H.S., and Wes Barker, of the ONC. “Industry-wide, much work remains from standards development to implementation.”

Still, the ONC claimed that 2019 could be the year FHIR takes off. Posnack and Barker added that the country “might be at a turning point” when it comes to adoption of the standard.

So far, Apple might be the most well-known FHIR user. The Silicon Valley giant made headlines this past summer when it showed off its new smartphone app that can download a patient’s electronic health record (EHR) data from 80 participating health systems, or hundreds of hospitals and clinics. The technology — and its connectivity and security measures — relies on FHIR.

In unveiling its data, the ONC said that other big-name tech developers appear poised to embrace FHIR.

Additional data also suggested that adoption of FHIR is widespread across the nation.

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