HL7 moves FHIR closer to interoperability for precision medicine

Health Level 7 genomics co-chair points to use cases in place today that other hospitals can adopt to advance precision medicine.
By Tom Sullivan
08:28 AM
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HL7 moves FHIR closer to interoperability for precision medicine

Health Level 7 took another step forward with its FHIR specification this week by publishing the first HL7 Domain Analysis Model: Clinical Sequencing.

In addition to precision medicine, the developing FHIR specification is widely viewed as a boon to population health and data interoperability, albeit one that will have to live alongside other standards for some time.

The new Domain Analysis model, or DAM as HL7 abbreviates it, comes on the heels of Release 3 of FHIR, which included FHIR Genomics

[Also: HL7 publishes Release 3 of FHIR specification]

“FHIR Genomics enables institutions to more quickly move toward precision medicine,” said Gil Alterovitz, a professor with the Harvard Computational Informatics Program and Boston Children’s Hospital who co-chairs the HL7 Clinical Genomics Work Group.

Tech-savvy hospital IT shops, standards makers, software developers and IT vendors can use the DAM to design interoperable solutions for genetics and genomics, HL7 said in the document.

The use cases that HL7 highlighted include clinical sequencing, including testing a patient’s germline genome, cancer and tumor profiling, neonatal testing, newborn screening and early childhood development delay, as examples.

[Also: How FHIR is setting the stage for population health]

“Each use case may include several scenarios where test results are manually translated from reports into either a tool for clinical decision making (e.g. family history or drug dosage calculator) or for public health reporting for cancer registries,” HL7 said.

Alterovitz added that the DAM was developed over the course of five years and was cited by National Institutes of Health Precision Medicine Initiative last year as a basis for building FHIR Genomics and Sync for Genes.

“The use cases are in practice somewhere, so others can adopt them,” Alterovitz said. “Today, not three or five or 10 years into the future.”

Twitter: @SullyHIT