The creator of FHIR, Grahame Grieve, visited Regenstrief Institute to give an update on the latest developments in interoperability standards and share his vision for the future. Grieve spoke during a lunch presentation for Regenstrief employees and at a meetup event for the Indy FHIR Users and Implementers group.
FHIR stands for Fast Healthcare Interoperable Resources. It is both a standard for exchanging healthcare information electronically and a community. It was invented by Grieve and further developed by HL7 International. Grieve calls it the web for healthcare. It uses internet technology and techniques to allow access to data no matter what EHR system is being used, facilitating the exchange of health information across health systems and providers using existing technology. FHIR is free to anyone who wants to use it.
Grieve said FHIR drives down the cost of integration, in part because it uses the technology and communities that are already available. He said the problem healthcare is facing is not a technology problem, it is an information management problem.
He explained that the FHIR team set out to remove IT as a barrier to seamless care, but there need to be changes to culture and expectations to see a real difference in healthcare. He said there will be lots of hurdles in achieving this.
Regenstrief has worked extensively with FHIR. LOINC® (Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes), a standardized language to identify health measurements, observations and documents created and based at Regenstrief, uses HL7 FHIR standard on its servers. Regenstrief researchers are working to use FHIR to merge data from individual electronic health records to those stored in the Indiana Network for Patient Care, a health information infrastructure containing information from providers across the state. They have also worked with Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) and IU Health to create a FHIR exchange for chest pain data, allowing physicians to quickly access a patient’s EHR data. Clem McDonald, M.D., a former Regenstrief director, was one of the co-founders of HL7.
Grieve is currently the FHIR product director at HL7 International and lives in Melbourne, Australia.