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.
Recent Initiatives of the ONC’s FHIR at Scale Taskforce (FAST) and Update on Payer-to-Payer Mandate are Key Topics for Wednesday Event, 8/25 at 4:00 pm ET
The success of the HL7® Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR®) standard is becoming increasingly evident.
Successful case studies are emerging. For example, a recently published HL7 case study documents how MultiCare Connected Care and Regence are recognizing significant cost savings by using a FHIR implementation guide standard to definitively ascertain that medication reconciliation has been completed. This case study can be found at https://www.hl7.org/participate/case-studies/index.cfm .
But these isolated successes beg the question – can FHIR be used more broadly, and implemented more widely across the country, handling a multiplicity of interactions across dozens of healthcare organizations simultaneously?
That is the task given to the ONC’s FHIR at Scale Taskforce (FAST), which is seeking to determine solutions and opportunities to influence emerging solutions.
Progress by the ONC FAST effort is of prime importance to the dissemination of FHIR solutions to solve information exchange challenges in healthcare. The panel’s progress over the past year will be one of the topics of the Da Vinci Project’s monthly Community Roundtable event, to be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 25.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the much-awaited Interoperability & Patient Access Rule in March 2020. The objective is to reinforce this rule by further improving health information exchange and obtaining member health records at a single location to reduce burden on payers, providers and members.
The enforcement date for this rule is January 1, 2023, and will be applicable to Medicaid programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) and Qualified Health Plan (QHP) issuers on the individual market Federally Facilitated Exchanges (FFEs). However, it will not be applicable to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.
The CMS proposed rule will include policies to enhance the current Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) from its interoperability rule such as patient access API and payer to payer API. There are a few new APIs and requirements proposed to improve the overall prior authorization process.
Monthly Event is Scheduled for 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 27, 2021
In the first community roundtable of 2021, project managers of the HL7 Da Vinci Project will provide updates for how the project’s implementation guides can be used to solve interoperability challenges and meet federal rules.
The roundtable is intended to highlight how Da Vinci Project implementation guides can help organizations reduce burden, advance data exchange and enable better patient access to data.
Participants from the HL7 Da Vinci Project include Jocelyn Keegan, program manager; Viet Nguyen, MD, technical director; and Vanessa Candelora, project manager. The Da Vinci team will show the progress of Implementation Guides (IGs), which give guidance for using the HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) coding. The team will also provide linkages to specific federal rules and policies, giving you the recipe to solve challenges in alignment with federal rules and leverage the power of standards to improve connectivity across all of your patient populations.
A Closer Look at the 26th Virtual HL7 FHIR Connectathon Held January 13-15, 2021
Despite adjusting almost everything in life to a pandemic-driven “new normal” these past ten months, most of us have discovered a few unexpected benefits from the upheaval. Such is the case for the HL7 FHIR Connectathons, which migrated from in-person to virtual beginning with the May 2020 Connectathon. The January Connectathon #26, occurring last week, carries the distinction of being the largest Connectathon yet – with over 800 participants!
The in-person, face-to-face Connectathons of the past provided a rare (and delightful) opportunity to join developers, implementers, clinicians and interested stakeholders in testing and development of FHIR standards. Moving to the virtual format, however, has allowed more people to participate without having to travel to the event.
What Happens at a FHIR Connectathon?
If you are still fuzzy on the detailed activities of Connectathons—and whether you should attend one, there are many avenues where you can learn more. FHIR Connectathons serve as events that are centered upon developing the FHIR specification; including resources, profiles, and implementation guides (IG). The first Connectathon occurred in September 2012 and readily set the stage for future Connectathons that typically occur in the days ahead of an HL7 Working Group Meeting, thereby encouraging members to participate in both.
Anthem, Cedars-Sinai, and CareEvolution to share on project to implement Data Exchange for Quality Measures and Event Notification on Wednesday, October 28
Like peeling back the layers of an onion, exchanging information to support value-based care involves complex data challenges for providers and payers alike.
That’s particularly true when it comes to navigating essential communications between providers and payers, using that dialogue to better coordinate care and achieve the best possible results for patients.
Two key areas that challenge everyone is ensuring that quality measures are met and that everyone in the chain is on the same page when it comes to events. Typically, these are hard for all parties in sharing relevant information.
HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard offers an approach that everyone can use to facilitate data exchanges. In an upcoming community roundtable scheduled for 4 to 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 28, HL7 Da Vinci Project members Anthem, Cedars-Sinai and CareEvolution will discuss their efforts to put implementation guides for Data Exchange for Quality Measures and Event Notification in place.
Time is ticking away on healthcare organizations, who face fast approaching federal deadlines to improve the sharing of information to give patients access to their payer data. Additionally, the tools to reduce clinician burden and improve clinical data exchange between payers and providers are rapidly maturing.
The good news is that HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard is the tool that organizations can use to meet new requirements for data sharing. Use cases and accompanying implementation guides from the HL7 Da Vinci Project offer specific, standardized ways for organizations to use plug-and-play technologies with multiple other organizations.
But for many organizations, now the works begins in earnest. Implementing Da Vinci use cases will require input from IT departments and testing with a variety of partners. Fortunately, an upcoming Da Vinci Project event aims to equip participants with the necessary knowledge to get off the ground successfully.
HL7 is offering a Da Vinci-focused Education and FHIR Implementation Event on October 27 to 29, open to both members and non-members. The event goals are to educate the health IT community about HL7 FHIR and FHIR implementation guides develop by the Da Vinci Project and the CARIN Alliance.
Just over one month ago, I leaped into HL7 FHIR through involvement of the Da Vinci Project. Having worked in the healthcare technology industry for more than 10 years aligned with implementers of payer-provider workflows, data reporting and analytics, it was compelling to see how the proverbial “sausage is made” in the standards world. I made my debut by attending the HL7 FHIR Patient Access API Implementation event in August and I have since attended the September HL7 Connectathon.
Here are three key takeaways from my first month in the FHIR community.
The Room Where it Happens: Developing a Standard Doesn’t Transpire Behind Closed Doors By the Elite.
As an implementer reading a standards’ implementation guide (IG), it’s inevitable to reach a point of confusion where you say to yourself, “Clearly the writer of this didn’t consider my business need.” HL7 has a robust process that prioritizes adoption and reaching consensus among the public community before stamping approval on a standard. The continuous improvement method includes one or more balloting cycles (where the public community essentially critiques the IG and provides detailed feedback) as well as multiple connectathons (at which IGs are tested against by the community), providing ample opportunity for feedback from the community to evolve the IG. The HL7 Da Vinci Project, as well as other FHIR accelerators, have reference implementation prototypes, documented examples, sample test scripts and weekly calls open to the public, encouraging participation throughout the development lifecycle.
Recap of the August Da Vinci Project Community Roundtable on DRLS and FAST
As the HL7 Da Vinci Project continues to make rapid progress in developing use cases to enable the exchange of healthcare information, work has been underway to test and widely deploy these cases among industry players.
Efforts led by federal agencies have been in motion to use solutions based on HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard at scale, as well as to incorporate FHIR use cases in a federal initiative that developed and tested a prototype to demonstrate the capability to streamline clinical workflow access to coverage requirements.
Presenters at a Da Vinci Project community roundtable on August 26 said the initiatives are important in bringing the benefits of automated information exchange throughout the healthcare industry, while taking steps to reduce the burden on providers.
The FAST Initiative
In one initiative, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is convening a FHIR at Scale Taskforce (FAST) that brings together a representative group of motivated healthcare industry stakeholders. FAST aims to take use cases that are being demonstrated in initial efforts between partners in the industry and ensure that they can operate more broadly.
“In building solutions for FHIR for interoperability, we realize that individual solutions are being developed to work between one endpoint and another,” said Stephen Konya, senior advisor to ONC and the Department of Health and Human Services. “When we start to roll these out at scale – when there’s a large number of payers sharing a large amount of data with a large number of providers – the game changes.”