July 08, 2015

FHIR: A SMART Solution for Interoperability?

As we continue on the interoperability journey, the healthcare industry is constantly exploring new standards and opportunities for achieving industry-wide information exchange.  One of the more recent advancements is Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards, which is rooted in the use of open APIs and Internet-based information exchange frameworks to enable greater access to data and health care information.

Earlier this year, Surescripts joined the Argonaut Project, a coalition of 40-plus electronic health records (EHR) vendors, health care organizations and other stakeholders that are implementing and testing the initial FHIR profiles. In the meaningful use Stage 3 proposal, CMS advocates for an "open API" that would allow patients to have more access to their own data from EHRs, which seems to have incentivized EHRs to adopt FHIR.

Another innovation that is being coupled with FHIR is Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technology platform (SMART). SMART defines a Web-based user interface to FHIR for use within the native EHR, implemented in HTML5 and JavaScript. This framework can spur more innovation from developers to provide more accessibility to data for patients and providers.  Surescripts is a supporter of SMART and has demonstrated its use with our Surescripts Adherence Management solution and plans to provide SMART as an alternative to our accelerator container for our Prior Authorization product.

Last month, leading health IT experts gathered at the SMART Conference at Harvard University’s medical school. I participated in a panel with Trent Haywood of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dr. Rickey Bloomfield of Duke University School of Medicine, Tom Krohn, of TrialReach and Sims Preston, CEO of Polyglot.  Together, we discussed how innovation can reach the point of care through standards and technologies like SMART, open APIs and FHIR.  We all walked away with new ideas about how other organizations and companies are embracing the SMART platform and new standards to enable nationwide interoperability in healthcare.

To follow the conversation online check out the hashtag, #SMARTHealthIT and make sure to follow @Surescripts on Twitter.

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