March 15, 2017

FHIR is No Longer Just a Concept

Mark Olschesky
Mark Olschesky

Datica Alumni — Former Chief Data Officer

I recently traveled to Duke University to both attend and present at the 2nd HL7 FHIR Applications Roundtable. This topped my must-attend 2017 events after I attended the first event last fall in Boston. Here’s what I learned, saw, and enjoyed at the applications roundtable.

A Recap of the HL7 FHIR Applications Roundtable

Datica’s presentation

I presented a demonstration of Datica, highlighting how vendors and innovation groups can use Compliant Cloud to build applications that aggregate hospital registration and scheduling feeds along with vitals and results from multiple organizations. They can then build the longitudinal patient records in an easy to query method. Of course, the underlying data storage format and query mechanisms are those provided by FHIR. It’s an effective catalyst for companies building a new product that relies on data integration, especially from disparate sources. If you need to facilitate faster application development for you or your team, let us know and we’ll schedule a demo.


More live demos

While the last FHIR Applications Roundtable featured many “conceptual” demonstrations of applications, during this second roundtable we saw more applications directly embedded into EHRs; presenters demonstrated their apps within the Cerner and Epic EHRs. After this year’s presentations, I can say with even more certainty that FHIR is for real.

Real-life use cases for PHRs and patient-initiated interoperability

Personal Health Records (PHRs) have existed for years, but often lacked true utility due to their inability to integrate directly with EHRs and their associated patient portals. As such, most PHRs operated via manual patient entry of their data into the PHR software. This had changed. Multiple demos showed how PHRs could use SMART on FHIR to access data from multiple EHRs and patient portals, all with permissions and scope set by the patient. Live demos highlighted this functionality, including one given by Michele Mottini from CareEvolution showing access of data from Cedars-Sinai My CS-Link (powered by Epic’s MyChart). As someone who operates primarily on the B2B side of interoperability but yearned for real solutions around patient-initiated interoperability, seeing that patients will have the ability to aggregate data from multiple portals and hospitals soon is exciting. A hat tip to Epic and Cerner for making this happen.

Need for API management

A few vendors provided presentations on how access controls could be layered on top of FHIR for more pragmatic management of FHIR resources. It seems like EMR vendors are remaining hands-off in this space, leading other vendors to rush in to fill the gap in API management (including Datica!).

People from all sides of the healthcare technology spectrum

The ability to talk to employees from startups, publicly-traded companies, hospitals and payers, life sciences and pharma all in the same place is amazing at the Apps Roundtable. Once again, people are investing time and resources in FHIR. A data standard is only as good as its utility and more and more companies are pledging to utilize it. As someone who wants to see interoperability improved through pragmatic standards-based integration, this provides hope that we’ll get there.

Duke is lovely

After things wrapped up on Wednesday, I meandered around the Medical School. Taking a short walk from the hospital towards the Duke Chapel and Gardens on a nice sunny day provided a peaceful environment only steps from the hospital.


Datica is a proud member of the HL7 organization. Basing our integration and data management approaches around standards like FHIR gives our customers the best chance at being future-proof vs. proprietary data formats built by other vendors. These HL7 events gives us a first-hand look at what others are working on and how we can help make that happen with Datica Compliant Cloud.

Get the guide to open data models and learn how to fuel transformation in your health system or hospital. Download What Health Systems Can Gain from FHIR Adoption today.