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Enabling Data Interoperability In the Health Care Industry

Michael Nikitin

CTO & Co-founder AIDA, CEO Itirra

Published on February 23, 2021
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The collection and sharing of medical data between hospitals and health care providers is crucial. The pandemic forced health care organizations to digitize overnight to cope with the rapidly growing number of infections in the U.S. and worldwide, a difficult task even in normal times. 

Health care providers do not have a single standard they all use. Because data is exchanged in multiple forms, it takes more time and effort to interpret patient information and determine the best care solution. 

At Itirra, we have been helping health care companies optimize their operations through innovative software for more than a dozen years. To continue providing the best level of service to our clients, we invest in our employees’ education so that we can remain at the forefront of tech developments. 

One of our specialists has recently finished a comprehensive course about FHIR hosted by Health Level Seven International (HL7). It’s a non-profit organization focused on providing a framework and standards to exchange, integrate, share, and retrieve electronic health information since 1987. HL7 standards can be seen as a bridge between health care services and advancing technology.

What is FHIR?

The most recent HL7 standard is Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). FHIR standardizes health care data exchange through a set of resources, modular components that have the same names and provide primary pieces of information. Each resource contains an easy to understand summary of patient’s information such as clinical records, name, and gender. It simplifies the exchange of health care information and promotes the use of APIs to support light-weight integration. 

FHIR facilitates secure data access and interoperability across the health care ecosystem accelerating time to market for digital services. This leads to improved workflows, time savings, simplified adoption and training, and increased user satisfaction.

In March 2020, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released the final ruling that addresses interoperability, information blocking, and patient access to data and EHR certification criteria. The ruling demonstrates that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is putting its force behind the implementation of FHIR standards. The increase in the rate of adoption of FHIR is a much needed step forward in the health care industry.

HL7 standards knowledge

The HL7 Fundamentals Course attended by our specialist is a 12-week workshop that uses guided exercises to learn by practice and example. This course introduces the HL7 and its standards, including Version 2 (V2), Clinical Document Architecture (CDA), and FHIR. 

We are looking forward to sharing what our team learns at the upcoming intermediate course about SMART on FHIR and CDS Hooks.

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Itirra’s development team is constantly working on improving their skills and staying up to date with the latest trends and technologies. We are always happy to help our clients find the best solution to improve their business operations. I will be happy to tell you more, simply contact us or schedule a meeting with me.