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What Is The Role of FHIR & HL7 Interoperability in Healthcare Industry?

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    Posted in Healthcare Management

    Last Updated | June 12, 2023

    Health Level 7 (HL7) is a medical interoperability language that is developed by Health Level Seven International. The HL7 comprise of determines the international standards that are used for sharing and transferring of data between healthcare providers. The key application of HL7 interoperability is to enable easy and more efficient sharing or healthcare data between various IT applications as compared to legacy methods.

    At present, healthcare providers use various IT applications to keep a record of patients’ data from billing to medical information. The problem with this approach is that it makes it hard for healthcare providers to share the data from different software. The problem gets even bigger when healthcare providers are required to share information with each other.

    The HL7 interoperability brings in the standards to assist software developers and healthcare providers for easy transmittance and interoperability of data across different platforms. This ensures that important medical data can easily be shared amongst the various applications, as well as, between multiple healthcare providers without an explicit need for dedicated data conversion software. To sum up, HL7 is meant to standardize and formalize the medical data sharing to minimize the administrative burden on healthcare providers, subsequently leading to improved healthcare services for patients.

    Folio3 Digital Health is Your Custom HL7 Integration Partner

    Folio3 HL7 integration service experts can help your healthcare facility or organization in adopting HL7 standards. Using various HL7 FHIR standards and leveraging their maximum potential, we have been delivering quintessential integration solutions to companies engaged in providing healthcare services across the world. The FHIR version takes the best features of versions HL7 2.x along with HL7 CDA to bring you to a whole new level of advanced technology.

    With our expertise, we are able to provide a range of custom HL7 integration services, also making sure your EMR/EHR integration needs are completely covered, so that you can focus your concentration on making the world healthier and better. 

    The majority of digital service providers don’t consider the UX design in healthcare integration apps, but Folio3 has a prime focus on UX design. This is because UX design directly influences the outcome of these integrations.

    We provide custom HL7 integration solutions for:

    • HL7 Integration Engine
    • HL7 Messages
    • HL7 Interface Development
    • HL7 Data Exchange


    What is HL7 FHIR?

    The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is developed by Health Level Seven as the next generation of standards that define the framework for medical data interoperability. The HL7 FHIR is meant to assist in the faster and smoother exchange of electronic healthcare information (EHI) between healthcare institutes. As with HL7, the FHIR was developed to make it more efficient and simpler for healthcare organizations to share medical data elements using a web-based approach. This next generation of the healthcare interoperability resource enables the sharing of data elements with unique tags, which acts as identifiers (more like the URLs for web pages).

    The ultimate goal of FHIR is to make it as easy as accessing a website through URL via any device or platform (desktop, smartphone, tablet, iOS, Android, or Windows). Similarly, with FHIR, users may access the desired healthcare data using the unique tag (identifier) via the internet through any type of device. The FHIR will enable developers to create applications that can be accessed by healthcare institutes irrespective of the EHR solution being utilized.

    Who Uses HL7 FHIR?

    The use cases for HL7 FHIR are virtually endless with the potential to address some of the biggest challenges faced by healthcare institutes at the moment including increasing patients’ engagement, making intelligent clinical decision support, as well as, developing comprehensive health management programs.

    With the dedicated support and assistance from the Office of the National Coordinator, as well as, various industry giants, HL7 FHIR has been making impacts in various scenarios. Below are some use cases for HL7 FHIR:

    • FHIR is being sued by the Cerner Corporation and Geisinger Health System as a means to improve the population health management capabilities, as well as, develop specialty applications, which can be used to breakdown the data silos.
    • IBM Watson Health and Mayo Clinic are leveraging the FHIR to develop an advance clinical decision support model, which may be capable to provide the healthcare provider with real-time data access
    • FHIR is playing a central role in the development of EHR-Agnostic “marketplace” for the creation of applications which enable the free flow of data across distinct systems
    • Carequality, Sequoia Project and CommonWell; all are exploring the possibilities of developing powerful applications for seamless data exchange using HL7 FHIR
    • Various other businesses related to the electronic health record market are exploring the new possibilities of seamless data transfers and sharing using the FHIR platform

    How Does HL7 Support FHIR Interoperability in healthcare?

    The aim behind the development of FHIR is to create a standard set of resources, which either can be used by themselves or maybe coupled with combined with other technological solutions to create a streamlined data sharing possibility that can satisfy all common use cases for the medical health information.

    This is achieved in FHIR by assigning a tag to each data element, which serves as the unique identified for the elements, just like the unique URLs for web pages. The HL7 FHIR may be used to create documents representing a composition; which can be said as the set of intelligible healthcare information from clinical observations, and services. By developing a

    Advantages and Benefits of HL7 FHIR for Patients

    There are various benefits of HL7 FHIR for patients including;

    Engage patients to take an active role in their healthcare

    Engaging patients to take an active role in their healthcare has remained one of the biggest challenges for governments, as well as, healthcare providers. One of the main reasons for patients’ disengagement with their healthcare is the fractured services and portals which vary greatly between healthcare providers. Perhaps the best benefit of HL7 FHIR interoperability is that it breakdowns the data silos to increase patients’ engagement in their healthcare.

    FHIR benefit for Adult Caregivers

    Tracking healthcare information from multiple systems is already a difficult task for patients, however, it becomes even more difficult in the case of adult caregivers. Fortunately, FHIR HL7 interoperability can significantly lower the burden by bringing the data on a single platform. The centralization of data from multiple sources makes it much easier for adult caregivers to view and follow. It also eliminates the requirement of lengthy phone calls or record requests. Another great advantage of HL7 FHIR is the administrative efficiency can enable the portability of data, for instance, data collected in one day can be analyzed by a doctor on the next day or even perhaps in near real-time.

    Improves Patient Care

    FHIR significantly lowers the administrative burden on healthcare providers, giving them more time and peace of mind to keep focused on patients’ clinical needs, thus greatly improve the quality of healthcare being offered to the patients.

    Advantages and Benefits of HL7 FHIR for Healthcare and hospitals/institutes

    Just like the various benefits of FHIR for patients, the HL7 interoperability also brings a myriad of benefits to the healthcare providers and hospitals/institutes.

    The key role of FHIR is to simplify the sharing of healthcare data between different healthcare providers, as well as, between various healthcare applications. FHIR identifies each unique healthcare data element with its unique identified tag which is similar to the unique URLs of the web pages, thus making it much feasible for healthcare providers to access the right data set through any device.

    HL7 FHIR also enables software developers to come up with interactive, and intuitive applications that may be accessed from mobile or desktop devices for reliable, consistent, and quick access to the healthcare data; irrespective of the EHR being used. Some of the major benefits of HL7 FHIR for healthcare providers, and healthcare institutes include;

    • Simple and streamlined integration and implementation
    • Faster data accessibility for medical records in a readable format
    • Standardization of data for automated clinical support
    • Lowers the time required to share document-based information

    What is the difference between hl7 interoperability and FHIR?

    The foremost important thing to remember is that HL7 interoperability and FHIR is developed by the same company – Health Level Seven. This means that there is no competition between the two systems.

    FHIR was brought to light by Apple and CMS when they launched the patient-centric mobile applications using FHIR. The applications are meant to enable patients to access and manage their medical records securely.

    With the Apple app for FHIR, patients today may use their iOS devices to get instant access to key medical aspects like assessing their eligibility for preventative care visits or to check out any outstanding claims. The app empowers the patients to access charts from any healthcare institute/clinic which are connected to Apple or CMS.

    The robust combination of FHIR API ad web services is being seen as the next generation of the healthcare services which would resemble the advanced integration of system which we are already seeing outside the healthcare industry; like social media newsfeed.

    Comparatively, there is no app or anything to download for HL7. Instead, here coders are required to write programs that are able to connect the systems which require interfacing, which subsequently would have to be maintained and supported for their sanctity.

    So, to compare the HL7 & FHIR, we can safely say that the FHIR is the next generation of healthcare services that is quickly expanding its scope to remove the complexities of traditional EHR interfacing.

    Are there any certifications for Hl7 and FHIR Interoperability in healthcare?

    Yes, there are specific certifications offered by HL7. The certifications are awarded after proficiency exams for the healthcare information technology standards.

    The certification programs offered by HL7 are meant for healthcare professionals and employers. The healthcare professionals can get certified for their expertise and proficiency for the HL7 system, whereas, employers may be able to create a team of experienced and certified HL7 professionals.

    The HL7 certificates aren’t just meant for the technical persons, rather non-technical persons may also learn and appear in the proficiency exams. In fact, there are instances where technical persons fail to clear the exams, whereas, non-technical persons passed the proficiency exams.

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