Regenstrief Center testing use of FHIR to amass EHR info from different sources

Computers connecting

The Regenstrief Center for Biomedical Informatics is pilot testing a new method to compile electronic health care information from different sources, according to an announcement from Indiana University.

The announcement says that the pilot project is using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Standard (FHIR) to merge data from individual EHRs with those stored at the Indiana Network for Patient Care, Indiana’s common framework for health information exchange (HIE). FHIR is a single shared standard for communication that enables resources to be compatible with each other across platforms.

For instance, a patient would be able to use an application on his smartphone to compile and reconcile his lists of medications from multiple providers into one definitive medication list.

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"What we are working on is a first and could have a huge impact on patients whose health information is distributed across multiple electronic systems--probably the vast majority of the people in the United States," Titus Schleyer, D.M.D., Ph.D., a Regenstrief Institute investigator and professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, said in the announcement. "Using FHIR, we can combine information about a specific patient stored in systems developed by different vendors and installed in different healthcare institutions. This brings us much closer to a 'lingua franca' for health information, so clinicians finally have complete information available about their patients."

FHIR is being used by vendors and others to improve interoperability among EHRs. It has been questioned whether the Current Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA), used in Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, is sufficient to handle the level of interoperability needed in the industry. The JASON task force had recommended accelerating parallel paths of the C-CDA as well as FHIR, calling the latter the "best candidate" to leverage existing structures for data sharing.

To learn more:
- read the announcement