What's the question?

Everyone wants to know what FHIR is and has advice on how to move it forward and make it better.
By Keith W. Boone
09:08 AM

Whatever it is -- if it involves health IT, interoperability, or anything else -- the answer seems to be FHIR.  And I agree, FHIR has plenty to offer the industry with regard to interoperability.  The Dec. 5 #HITsm tweetchat was all about FHIR, and the Dec. 4 announcement of the Argonauts project by HL7 and a variety of other participants.  There's no real cabal here, or perhaps I should say that differently: Just about every cabal out there is involved.  It's the cabal of cabals.  You've got HIT Standards committee leadership and CommonWell leadership and HSPC leadership, and leaders of many other factions I'm sure.

I get to laugh a little bit about all this buzz, because I recognized FHIR was going to be pretty significant quite some time ago (in fact 2+ years ago).  And John Moehrke has been involved with the FHIR Management Group since it was initiated.  The doers have been at it for a few years already, it's good to see some of these other folk join in.

And now of course, everyone wants to know what FHIR is and has advice on how to move it forward and make it better.  If you want to understand FHIR, start first with this primer.  Whoops, that's not a primer, that's actually the standard.  But it is already a pretty good place to start.  If you want to see FHIR in action, what I'd suggest you do is sign up for the HL7 FHIR Connectathon happening in January in San Antonio.  If you cannot make it to that event, you still have an opportunity to see what is happening with FHIR in IHE at the IHE Connectathon in Clevland [frankly, I'll prefer the weather in San Antonio, but will be at both events].  If you want to get involved in FHIR, join HL7, and get on the list serves, the Skype chat, the Wiki or just about any other media available.  While FHIR presently is being developed by just about all of HL7, soon there will be an HL7 Workgroup devoted solely to FHIR.

The Argonauts project is about hitting the closing stretch on the next release of FHIR, which is expected to be DSTU Release 2 in May.  There are a couple of major components related to that project (mostly about a few parts of of what FHIR DSTU 2 expects to deliver):

  1. Documents
  2. Granular Data
  3. Integration with OAuth 2.0
  4. Project Management
The OAuth 2.0 piece is a bit extra, but is part of what needs to happen to support things like a RESTful Blue Button API here in the US.  Already there's some work that Josh Mandel did for Blue Button + Pull, and for which IHE started the Internet User Authentication (IUA) profile a couple of years ago.
The big news about FHIR is not so much about Jason or the Argonauts (most all of whom die in the end, except perhaps Heracles), and more about the fact that like the Argo, FHIR has the biggest collection of Interoperability heroes on board.  With a crew like this, it should be an amazing ride. Are you in?