As mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act, healthcare providers will be required to support “increasing interoperability and access to patient-level data.” Much of this takes effect in July 2021. In addition, healthcare professionals will be required to provide patient access to data by December of 2022. Despite the pandemic making implementing new interoperability methods difficult, there is a simple solution: the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource, or FHIR.
FHIR is a standard developed by the Health Level Seven International (HL7) organization that outlines data formats, resources, and an application programming interface (API) in order to quickly and efficiently exchange electronic health data. On their website, HL7 describes FHIR’s mission by saying, “The philosophy behind FHIR is to build a base set of resources that, either by themselves or when combined, satisfy the majority of common use cases. FHIR resources aim to define the information contents and structure for the core information set that is shared by most implementations.”
The goal of FHIR is recommended as a best practice in the 21st Century Cures Act; to quickly and clearly transfer health data between providers and patients.
Considering the massive amount of healthcare data that exists in every provider’s office across the country, the need for efficient data transfer is of the utmost importance. Currently, many times these transfers are encounter based documents that are typically emailed or faxed between providers. Encounter based document transfers are time consuming and can be costly for the provider and often, confusing for the patient. The data in the documents is too verbose in many cases and does not help the provider focus in order to make well-informed decisions about a patient’s care.
FHIR is a groundbreaking way for developers to break current industry standards by allowing healthcare providers to have the specific information they need in near real time. Using API standards, these applications can be coded into an EHR, seamlessly integrating the data into a provider’s workload without the need for the convoluted process of data extraction and stratification from the traditional encounter-based documents. FHIR allows providers to spend less time sorting through documents and more time caring for their patients. Additionally, FHIR has the unique ability to connect patients, providers, and care teams, making care coordination much easier and more effective.
The United States, through the 21st Century Cures Act, is determined to increase interoperability and access to patient data. However, it can be daunting for providers to implement these standards using FHIR by July 2021. A recent survey estimated that only 18% of providers and 36% of payers have current expertise in FHIR data exchange models. This study also cited a lack of prioritization and cost concerns as key issues across the industry. Vorro can help you achieve full compliance quickly and efficiently.
How Vorro Can Help
There are several items to consider when thinking about implementing FHIR. The first issue is the infrastructure needed to exchange FHIR based data. Most organizations will need an additional layer, being the FHIR “server,” between their trading partners and their internal systems. Our BridgeGate solutions are securely hosted and managed at AWS data centers across the country and currently handle millions of transactions a month. FHIR is one of many standards we support.
Secondly, mapping the data is hard enough from your systems to the FHIR standard, never mind what the other side is sending. Vorro’s BridgeGate easily handles this complexity with our template driven approach to integration. Our experts deliver solutions in days with these tools, not months or years. Finally, isn’t this just what you need? This is another standard with which to keep pace. We handle the disparity and the consistent change that exists within the standards, and you focus on your business.
At Vorro we are positioning our clients to successfully leverage the FHIR standard and to comply with the 21st Century Cures Act. This is the future of data exchange, and we are prepared to meet this need today and tomorrow. To learn more about Vorro and our complete portfolio of solutions visit https://vorroconnect.com.
Billy Waldrop is the Chief Operations Officer for Vorro, Inc. Billy has dedicated his career to managing and developing complex systems for the manufacturing and healthcare industries. He spent 10 years at the Mayo Clinic, where he supervised and directed teams responsible for the development and support of critical Patient Financial Services systems. He holds an MBA and a B.S. in Professional Management, along with many certifications from the Mayo Clinic.