Photo: Mike Miliard/HIMSS Media
CHICAGO – At HIMSS23 this week, a new public-private collaboration was launched to help enable wider understanding and more effective implementations of a key interoperability spec.
WHY IT MATTERS
On Monday at the HIMSS23 Interoperability and HIE Forum, the new coalition – comprising health systems, payers and government agencies – convened to start work together on sharing implementation experiences, best practices, and tips on technical and non-technical barriers around the use of HL7’s Bulk FHIR standard.
Wider adoption of Bulk FHIR can help with an array of healthcare use cases – from population health management, quality measurement, health equity, care coordination across payer and provider networks and more.
These for organizations (and their point people) signed on to collaborate on sharing knowledge and wisdom related to their own public or private Bulk FHIR data sharing initiatives:
Advocate Health (Dr. Rasu Shrestha)
Agilon Health (Girish Venkatachaliah, Varun Anand)
ApolloMed (Yubin Park)
Elevance (Ashok Chennuru)
HIMSS (Tom Leary, Christina Caraballo)
Mt. Sinai (Mike Berger)
Multicare (Anna Taylor)
Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (Steve Posnack)
Particle Health (Troy Bannister)
Rush University System for Health (Anil Saldanha)
Tufts Medicine (Dr. Shafiq Rab)
UC Davis Health (Dr. Ashish Atreja, Dr. Yauheni Solad)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Dr. Jonathan Nebeker)
As these organizations share feedback and best practices among themselves, the hope is to spread insights and spur momentum on Bulk FHIR adoption – helping other organizations with the governance and technological steps needed for successful implementations.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, as part of the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule, added criteria for standardized APIs for patient and population services to its Health IT Certification Program for Bulk FHIR. Electronic health record vendors and other health IT developers who wanted to remain ONC-certified were required to attest to this functionality by the end of 2022.
Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, now president of CareJourney, noted in a blog post that that requirement has led to a profusion of new products that support Bulk FHIR.
“As of April 10, there are 250-plus unique products across 200-plus developers that meet this requirement and make this feature available to their customer base,” he said. “Notably, approximately 30% of the certified products indicated that they rely on another vendor’s software to support meeting ONC’s requirement.”
This week, Chopra called on stakeholders across healthcare to participate in this voluntary collaboration as part of industry efforts to meet the growing demand for FHIR-based data sharing.
Among the ongoing new initiatives cited by the new coalition:
An NCQA-organized coalition to evaluate the quality of real-world FHIR Bulk Data, in parallel with the forthcoming DAV-FHIR program. DAV-FHIR confers validated status to FHIR data streams if the program requirements are met (i.e. legal access to source data to support primary source verification). Validated streams are then able to be used as standard supplemental data in HEDIS reporting.
An update to the 2018 VA Open API pledge to prevent Veteran suicide, to provide more care and benefits to Veterans impacted by toxic exposures, and to support Veterans challenged by social determinants of health (SDOH).
An ONC and CDC Foundation-supported network of sites connecting a prototype version of Cumulus to participating Bulk FHIR endpoints to test the instrumentation of USCDI as a data source for public health surveillance and action.
An anticipated pilot initiative by the CMS Innovation Center on the use of Bulk FHIR for demographic and SDOH data collection, particularly associated with the ACO REACH Model.
THE LARGER TREND
Four years ago, during the second Blue Button Developers Conference at the White House in 2019, several stakeholders – providers, payers and IT organizations, made an initial commitment to real-world testing of Bulk FHIR.
Since then, the potential of the Bulk FHIR spec has only increased – with new use cases emerging across public health, quality improvement and more.
In a session at HIMSS23 on Wednesday, former National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. Donald Rucker, along with Dr. Kenneth Mandl of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, will explore how Bulk FHIR can help public and private healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes better manage their data and track their performance across an array of key metrics.
Their discussion, Bulk FHIR: Measuring Global Organizational Performance, is scheduled for April 19 from 2:3-3:30 pm in Room S504 in South Building, Level 5.
ON THE RECORD
Bulk FHIR “enables push-button access to patient-level data across a patient population,” Mandl told Healthcare IT News. “We would love to see, at our session, innovators of all stripes, who use population data in their work.”
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