Healthcare interoperability – the key to improving communication, collaboration, efficiencies and patient outcomes – is taking another step forward for interoperability within. IHE® and HL7® are increasingly working together to find effective ways to improve interoperability in health IT. As a sign of that collaboration, IHE had a strong presence at the HL7 FHIR DevDays meeting hosted by Firely in Boston, June 19-21.
A similar IHE track scheduled for FHIR DevDays Amsterdam, November 14-16, will be guided by Mauro Zanardini, Co-Chair of the IHE IT Infrastructure Technical Committee and Integration and Testing Manager for Consorzio Arsenàl.IT in Italy.
The main goal of the DevDays events is to educate health IT stakeholders on the tools and resources being used to advance interoperability using HL7 FHIR. Attendees also have the opportunity to gain hands-on training and network with their peers. Companies like Epic, Cerner, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, Agfa, and many others send their experts to DevDays to teach the attendees and guide the hands-on sessions.
As part of these sessions, John Moehrke, a standards architect with By Light Professional IT Services Inc., gave two IHE-focused presentations: “IHE Profiles and FHIR” and “XDS on FHIR.” These sessions went into depth on the background of IHE, and focused on profiles that leverage FHIR – forming the bridge between these interoperability frameworks.
“The audience was overwhelming interested in hearing about the existing IHE profiles that leverage FHIR,” says Moehrke of the first session.
During the second session, he was able to go into greater detail on the collaboration between IHE and HL7.
“I covered at a relatively deep level the details of Document Sharing, and how FHIR can be used as an API to a Document Sharing health information exchange. I then went into the way that documents can be consumed by a service that decomposes them into the individual elements, de-duplicate those elements, and publish them as discrete FHIR Resources,” he says. “Lastly I covered how this system can provide Provenance, which provides a linkage from the discrete FHIR Resources back to the documents from which that data was derived.”
The talks elicited a positive response from attendees in the IHE community.
“One of the conference highlights, for me, was John Moehrke’s sessions on IHE. The sessions were well-attended and well-presented. The audience was engaged and some great questions were asked.” says Brad Genereaux, from Agfa HealthCare.
Looking ahead, both Moehrke and Genereaux hope to see an expansion of IHE’s presence at future HL7 FHIR DevDays events.
“It’s clear that more sessions on the intersection of FHIR and IHE is needed in future – there’s a synergistic relationship where FHIR provides the framework, and IHE drives the interoperable behavior in implementations.” says Genereaux. He is hopeful IHE’s role at DevDays events will grow as a result of Project Gemini, a joint collaboration between IHE and HL7.
More collaborative events are planned in the future. FHIR DevDays events are being held across the globe, and IHE continues to put a spotlight on the role its profiles play in interoperability. Mauro Zanardini’s, at FHIR DevDays Amsterdam Amsterdam, expanded testing of FHIR profiles will be conducted at IHE Connectathon events in Cleveland, Ohio, January 21-25 and April 8-12 in Rennes, France.
FHIR DevDays Amsterdam: Call for Use Cases
“We strongly support the idea of the IHE and HL7 communities collaborating on common use cases. This is what the market asks from us,” says Rien Wertheim, the CEO of Firely and host for DevDays in Amsterdam. “For the upcoming Amsterdam edition, we ask the community to come up with use-cases where we can collaborate and build new FHIR based IHE profiles. All the experts will be there. This is an opportunity we don’t want to miss.”