This is a time of great health policy discussion and activity, especially given the challenge of COVID-19 and the finalization of significant federal regulations that will now move into the implementation stage. HL7 and its standards, such as Fast Healthcare Interoperabilty Resources (FHIR®), are a strong fiber in these developments. Discussed here are key aspects of the final interoperability, patient access and information blocking rules recently released related to implementing provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-155). The intersection of policy, HL7 standards and COVID-19 will be highlighted in this space soon. Stay tuned!
Keeping Us Together While Apart
During this time of global crisis, it’s worth remembering the critical importance of what we at HL7 are doing to improve global health by making health information more available and useful. While so many are struggling with social distancing, we already have a culture that long ago learned to work together remotely on our common goals. But now with fewer opportunities to meet together in person, we need to move ahead to finish much of the work we’ve been doing over the past few years – so we’re better prepared to work together even more effectively, while knowing we must be further apart geographically.
Join Our Webinar on May 22, 2019 at 12 pm Central!
API 101: An Introduction to APIs and How They Are Transforming Health IT
Webinar speakers and blog authors:
Wayne Kubick, HL7 CTO
John Orosco, CTO, Sansoro Health
Dave Levin, CMO, Sansoro Health
Application program interface (API) technology has transformed the digital economy and is now poised to do the same in health IT. The combination of the an increasingly robust HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard API and the rules proposed by ONC on interoperability will accelerate this trend. What should you know before diving in? Tune in to our live webinar on Wednesday May 22 at 12pm CT.
APIs allow software applications to connect, communicate and collaborate through a combination of web services. This harnesses the power of internet “backbone” communication protocols to provide a secure channel for connecting two applications and standards like JSON and XML that provide data-interchange formats or “objects.”
APIs also allow businesses to collaborate more seamlessly. For example, businesses that ship packages via UPS can leverage the UPS API to easily track shipping status. This API hides the complexity of the UPS database and business logic. It’s an open API that is exposed to the world so almost anyone can use it. Simply register, learn how the API works and connect and your system can interrogate the UPS API, instantly retrieve the current status, and display it to your customers on your website or app.
Our ongoing tooling journey at HL7 continues, neither as a sprint nor a marathon. For us, it’s really more like an odyssey – an ongoing journey where there is always something more to be done, another path to explore, and a final destination (retirement, for example) seems far out of reach. In the case of HL7 tooling, a fair number of tooling retirements are well overdue.
Despite the wait, it’s gratifying to see when tangible progress is actually achieved. On the Confluence front, we’re in the home stretch of phase 1 of the rollout, though there’s a whole new course to pursue just around the bend. We now have all work groups on Confluence (!) and have also migrated many more projects, committees and collaborations. New functions and help features in Confluence (including a major facelift for confluence.hl7.org) are being added regularly, and you can keep up with these by checking the CTO Tooling Update page. This enabling platform is already unleashing many new opportunities within the HL7 community. Our next target is to work toward optimizing our processes with online forms and workflow. The online project scope statement (PSS) pilot is now available and will give us an opportunity to speed up reviews and approvals as well as make new projects more visible to the community in the hope we can avoid last minute catchups.
Every good story has a beginning, middle and end. First, we get hooked on the opening, which drives us ultimately towards a conclusion, but the real time and effort comes along the way. While the middle is where most things happen, we can sometimes feel like we’re in a holding pattern there – until something tangible finally happens that directly affects what we do.
This rings true with HL7’s transition to our new collaboration tooling environment built on Confluence and JIRA. The good thing is that we’re making steady progress on multiple fronts, with many more work groups in Confluence and the killer apps of JIRA Ballot and Unified Terminology Governance (UTG) becoming more palpable. On the other hand, we’re clearly still en route, perhaps able to imagine but not yet actually taste the promised rewards. This is understandable, since the mission of HL7 is the creation of standards, not the creation of tooling to help us achieve that. However, it’s tooling that directly affects us in the ways we develop HL7 standards.
You may have noticed that the HL7 website has a new look and feel.
The newly launched public homepage is one component of a broader website redesign project with an overall focus to enhance the most widely used and frequently visited sections of the HL7.org.
We hope this redesign will:
- Better highlight the value and benefits offered by HL7 to the healthcare community
- Increase the visibility of education and membership opportunities
- Support HL7 mission, vision, strategic goals and initiatives
- Provide new users with an appealing, responsive and mobile-friendly experience