Precision medicine research requires patient information that up until recently was locked up in paper records that proved too difficult and expensive to extract. With passage of the HITECH act facilitating the deployment of electronic medical records (EMRs), this valuable patient information is now digitized and available for use by researchers.
Unfortunately like paper records, the failure to foster true interoperability as part of the Meaningful Use criteria used to guide EMR implementation left the industry with valuable data locked up in proprietary formats and incompatible data definitions. Although CCD and CCD-A standards allowed for some degree of interoperability, these formats transfer information in large bundles rather than discreet elements more useful to researchers.
Which brings us to HL-7’s proposed FHIR® (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) specification. HL7’s release of the proposed FHIR standard attempts to unlock the data within EMRs and make it available for other applications to utilize.
Excerpts from: Precision Requires FHIR. PSQH, March/April, 2016