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Why FHIR Capabilities of Healthcare Data Platform is Critical to Quality and Cost of Care Deliveryby@vishaalgrizzly
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Why FHIR Capabilities of Healthcare Data Platform is Critical to Quality and Cost of Care Delivery

by Vishaal GrizzlyNovember 10th, 2022
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The flexibility of interoperability in the healthcare system has enhanced patient-doctor interaction to a great extent. By providing data-as-a-service, medicare providers have reduced the paperwork drastically which adds up to lesser errors. FHIR will be the widely used data exchange standard in the foreseeable future in the medicare sector. It is continually being upgraded with several data APIs to increase its usability in the real world scenario. A survey conducted by the Engine Group commissioned by Change Healthcare in April 2021 suggests that 67 percent of medicare provider expect that these APIs will be implemented before 2023 in their organizations.
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As the healthcare system keeps scaling up every day by enabling more seamless transmission of data and communication with patients, the organizational challenges become complex. The interoperability of computerized and networked systems started playing an influential role in improving the healthcare system ever since its inception.

The flexibility of interoperability in the healthcare system has enhanced patient-doctor interaction to a great extent. By providing data-as-a-service, medicare providers have reduced the paperwork drastically which adds up to lesser errors. FHIR will be the widely used data exchange standard in the foreseeable future in the medicare sector. It is continually being upgraded with several data APIs to increase its usability in the real world scenario.


A project team supported by theHHS Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program is currently improvising the Blue Button 2.0 API, an interface on top of the existing FHIR API to facilitate the beneficiaries to share the individual claims information. The beneficiaries get to choose the information being shared with the reliable third party application. A proper outreach will be made regularly to the development community within the industry to make sure that their applications are ready to comply with the updates.


The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services implemented the mandatory usage of FHIR on July 1, 2021. This CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule will enable the patients to view information on their claims from third-party apps. As the failure to adopt these FHIR mandates can lead to several compliance issues, businesses should work out things accordingly on their side.


The interoperability mandates announced last year are designed to make health information more easily available to patients. Since it instructed medicare providers holding patient information to provide public access to their directories using FHIR APIs, it impacted every stakeholder in the business. A survey conducted by the Engine Group commissioned by Change Healthcare in April 2021 suggests that 67 percent of medicare providers expect that these APIs will be implemented before 2023 in their organizations.


Eliminating the room for medical error is the need of the hour. With interoperability, the various stakeholders involved in a medical procedure can get a better understanding of the errors that occur within the system. Unlike earlier, they have the means to interpret their actions which will empower them to take precautionary measures. This interoperability will improvise the exchange of medical information on a global scale with minimal risks.


The interoperable data can help service providers to reduce their operational costs significantly as it cuts down repetitive tasks in an organization. The aggregated patient information can be helpful for medicare providers to develop robust national networks and improvise their service as it strengthens coordination. While patients can easily share their information with third-party applications, they can access the most accurate collection of public health data.


As FHIR enables ease of access to patient records, vulnerability at the server end can weaken its safety lines. Although the standard allows patients to seamlessly share data with third party apps, there is risk involved. However, the developer community keeps improving their testing capabilities and security protocols to implement safe and secure APIs.


After 2013, the FHIR specifications were made free to use which resulted in the rise of numerous mobile–first platforms. As FHIR can be easily set up on mobile platforms, it paved the way for several telemedicine applications. By empowering payers and providers to interact on a single platform and assisting clinical researchers to provide effective treatments, FHIR’s evolution is addressing several critical problems.


The FHIR standard indicates a smarter way to deploy technology to develop on the existing platform to make it more flexible. The potential embodied in FHIR enables a data-level access approach to exchange fragmented patient data. These technical capabilities unlock the opportunities for the developer community to deploy their plug-and-play APIs to foster an ecosystem within the healthcare IT systems. By leveraging new public APIs, the next step in the evolution of standards will open doors for unprecedented interoperability in the medicare ecosystem.