The COVID-19 pandemic is helping to reveal new ways to use HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR®) standard to share healthcare information and coordinate services, but systemic shortcomings in existing health information systems are hampering coordination of a national response.
FHIR is being used in some initial efforts to support public health efforts, and it has the potential to rapidly address approaches to gather data and coordinate research across the planet, said Wayne Kubick, chief technology officer for HL7 International.
“The FHIR platform can enable multiple apps to rapidly address urgent new use cases, such as public health,” said Kubick during a webinar on April 30, hosted by HL7 and sponsored by CitiusTech, entitled “Data Sharing in the Spotlight: COVID Gaps, Interop Rules and The Path Forward.”
Because FHIR enables data to be easily accessed by open source apps, it can help in the rapid response needed to the current pandemic, Kubick said. “Increased global adoption can help to get to a common platform of collaboration around the world; a FHIR infrastructure is the first step in a long process – to take advantage of this infrastructure, it will require further innovative, agile methods to build out implementation guides. Standards can’t solve the problem entirely – we need the infrastructure there to support rapid response capabilities.”