Alliance of government, private sector and philanthropic partners aims to use widely accepted healthcare standard to help advance public health
A new initiative launched by HL7 and jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) seeks to use widely recognized data exchange standards to help advance public health. The effort, called Helios, intends to strengthen the capacity and streamline data sharing across all levels of public health using the HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability (FHIR®) standard.
“Public health has risen in urgency and importance over the last 18 months,” said the ONC’s National Coordinator for Health IT Micky Tripathi, PhD, MPP, “FHIR accelerators have had great success in engaging implementers as early as possible to help identify and overcome longstanding barriers to interoperability. The Helios alliance is a market-based implementation collaboration that will help to ensure FHIR development is coordinated and focused on real world public health needs.”
The initiative is the latest to use HL7’s FHIR Accelerator program, which seeks to speed the development and availability of FHIR to deliver better data that leads to better health outcomes. The Helios alliance represents an ambitious new use of the FHIR Accelerator program, pulling together a diverse group of state, tribal, local, territorial, and Federal public health agencies, private and philanthropic sector partners, and other groups interested in the equitable and effective use of data for the advancement of public health.
“Helios is expected to become an integral component of the HL7 FHIR Accelerator Program and comprise a cornerstone to the newly announced HL7 Implementation Division,” said Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, the CEO of Health Level Seven International. “The Helios Public Health Accelerator will provide a critical step toward the direct access to data needed for public health.”
As the FHIR standard matures, there is a clear path to utilize FHIR and other existing standards to execute the interoperable exchange of data for public health. Helios members will help demonstrate the utility of FHIR and ensure public health needs are at the forefront as FHIR-based implementations evolve and rollout nationwide.
“Standardizing and automating our data flows will help us accelerate data into action,” said Daniel Jernigan, MD, MPH, CDC’s Deputy Director for Public Health Science and Surveillance. “Organizing in this way will help ensure FHIR-based solutions are integrated, aligned, and are a complement to everything else that's going on in the public health community.”
Organizers of Helios are encouraging other entities to participate in the effort. More information about Helios and the project’s goals can be found on HL7’s website, www.hl7.org/helios/.