Understanding HL7 and FHIR


Understanding HL7 and FHIR

What ATM did to Banking, HL7 & FHIR will do to healthcare. These standards are bringing a dynamic shift that has brought the next revolution led by data for the healthcare industry.

Technologies are advancing, becoming more precise, accurate, efficient, and powerful, enabling businesses/organizations/corporates to transform how they operate. And therefore, it is not surprising that healthcare organizations are making a fundamental shift with the help of technology and standards such as HL7 and FHIR, which essentially focus on delivering better, more accurate, and quick care to patients while improving the outcome.

The factors that are fostering the transformational shift are as follows:

  • Improved workflows
  • Patient Privacy
  • Accurate and faster diagnosis
  • Enhanced preventive methods
  • Compliance with government regulations

Out of all, if one transformative action has demonstrated the highest impact, it is data interoperability, seamless data transfer, and aggregation in a meaningful manner between different healthcare systems for personalized care delivery.

Every second, an exponential amount of healthcare data is generated and mined for valuable insights. As per RCB Capital Markets, approximately 30% of the world’s data volume is generated by the healthcare industry only, reaching 36% by 2025. (Source)

Therefore, dealing with data to make the best of it can seem complex and overwhelming. However, this is where HL7 and FHIR come in.

What is HL7 FHIR?

HL7 and FHIR are standards that enable healthcare organizations to easily store, access, update, and share health records efficiently, quickly, and securely. They enable interoperability and seamless data exchange between different systems.

What is the difference between HL7 and FHIR?

Although the objective of both are similar, HL7 and FHIR are quite different.

HL7 (Health Level 7) International is a non-profit ANSI-accredited organization that develops standards for healthcare entities that focus on exchanging, integrating, and retrieving healthcare data. The purpose is to support healthcare professionals in utilizing clinical data practice and management to extend better care delivery.

FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) is a standard that is developed by HL7 International, along with other standards. The objective of FHIR is to help solve data sharing and interoperability challenges with a structured approach, from simplifying implementation while maintaining data integrity to leveraging existing logical and theoretical models for easy and consistent implementation of data exchange between disparate systems.

Some of the core application differences are as follows:

  • HL7 is a messaging standard that provides a structure for healthcare data information exchange. Whereas FHIR is an application layer standard that helps in data transfer and storage in EHRs.
  • HL7 is primarily used for transferring detailed messages between software applications. However, FHIR connects modern applications via API-level integration.
  • HL7 is comparatively more complex that may require technical expertise. However, FHIR provides the primary structure making it easy to implement data interoperability.

What is the significance of HL7 and FHIR?

ONC’s Cures Act Final Rule supports seamless and secure access exchange and use of electronic health information. (source) Therefore, now more than ever, it is crucial for healthcare professionals to facilitate data interoperability which essentially allows both parties to benefit from it. The rule is designed to give patients and healthcare providers secure access to health information. From providing more choices to patients with more insights to enabling better care delivery with clinical data insights to medical professionals, HL7 and FHIR demonstrate a promising future for the health industry.

Wrapping up

As per HealthITBuzz, as of 2019, 84% of hospitals and 61% of clinicians adopted and implemented 2015 Edition certified API technology enabled with FHIR. (source)

HL7 and FHIR are two standards that can be used for data exchange and other features and benefits. What seems to be a win-win change for patients and medical professionals is being adapted on a grand scale by healthcare organizations across the country. HL7 and FHIR are the next great ways towards interoperability. Are you ready to adopt? At OmniMD, we help healthcare organizations adopt HL7 FHIR in the most efficient way possible so that they can gain maximum benefits and scale up with data faster than ever before. To set up a discovery call, contact us at (number), and to know more about our HL7 and FHIR services, visit (landing page link)

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