Nearly everyone with a role to play in healthcare should know what HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is by now. However, a cloud of mystery hovers around FHIR and the healthcare industry has been reluctant to change gears. At least that was FHIR’s story a few years ago.
Today, there’s lots of buzz about FHIR. You might find it everywhere from federal agencies to major technology companies with healthcare at their core. Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and Oracle have all thrown their considerable weight and cloud-based resources behind FHIR and improving interoperability in healthcare. The underlying concepts behind FHIR are important drivers of the push towards interoperability.
There are a variety of resources that offer insights on FHIR, from articles examining the potential of FHIR in electronic health records to implementation case studies, predictions on the path forward, and more. If you’re looking to enhance your understanding of FHIR, learn more about how it’s being used (and whether those implementations are successful), or even gain some technical expertise about how to put it to use, you’ve come to the right place. We scoured the web and tracked down 50 of the best sources of FHIR information, from podcasts to whitepapers and fact sheets. You’ll find something on our list whether you need technical help or just a better understanding of FHIR.
There's more! Read about more FHIR resources in Part II.
Articles Focused on FHIR
This article does an excellent job outlining the history of FHIR and giving you an overview of it. If you need a brief primer on FHIR, this article may be all you need to get your mind wrapped around it. This article takes a no-nonsense look at FHIR, so expect to learn the good and bad points along with some of the author’s opinion.
Three key takeaways from “A Brief History of FHIR and Its Impact on Connectivity:”
- An excellent look at the pros and cons of FHIR
- An insightful look at the future of FHIR
- Plenty of links if you need more information
2. A Comparative Analysis of HL7 FHIR and openEHR for Electronic Aggregation, Exchange and Reuse of Patient Data in Acute Care
This is technically a thesis that resulted from a comparison study of openEHR and FHIR. Since openEHR is growing rapidly in popularity, especially in places where healthcare services might be limited or severely underfunded, it may be a better option for some providers. The openEHR software is an open source, flexible standards solution but lacks the support enjoyed by FHIR.
Key takeaways from “A Comparative Analysis of HL7 FHIR and openEHR for Electronic Aggregation, Exchange and Reuse of Patient Data in Acute Care:”
- Learn when FHIR or openEHR might be better suited for some tasks and environments
- See real comparison data instead of a speculative analysis
- Spoiler: FHIR wins because it’s easier to learn and implement
SMART helps people develop medical apps using a suite of open source tools. Integrating FHIR into these apps is a logical step and could turn out to be a solution to some development problems. In short, SMART lets you build apps for any clinical data system and this article provides an excellent overview of SMART on FHIR.
Key takeaways from “Everything You Need to Know About SMART on FHIR:”
- SMART and FHIR helps to bring apps and data together
- Plenty of helpful links for a deeper look at SMART and FHIR
- Understand the best starting points and reasons for using both technologies
This article is a little dated, but it’s an excellent overview of why FHIR is the logical next phase in interoperability in healthcare. It highlights several good points around FHIR and how modern app development for web services is critical to interoperability.
Key takeaways from “FHIR and the Future of Interoperability:”
- FHIR is the future of healthcare data exchange
- Apps may further improve how healthcare data is accessed
- FHIR’s future depends on innovators and developers
Training is ultimately the crucial factor in everything from clinical decisions to interoperability. FHIR may be the easiest standard to come along, but the learning curve is still pretty steep. Training speeds up everything from development to implementation, and it makes life easier on end users. The early stages are usually the most critical for training.
Key takeaways from “FHIR Training: The early Steps of Mastering HL7 FHIR:”
- Digital health services are necessary to provide the best patient care
- FHIR uses old and new terms you need to learn before you start using it
- Get training to keep from falling behind
This article offers an excellent explanation of what FHIR is and what it is not in its current state. The article is from 2018, but FHIR, including the latest release as of this writing, remains pretty much what this article claims. Pros and cons like the ones in this piece give you the insight you need to make decisions about moving forward with FHIR.
Key takeaways from “FHIR: the Present and the Future of Health IT:”
- The FHIR community is strong and growing
- FHIR is mostly backward compatible with other standards to an extent
- FHIR lacks solid backward compatibility with its previous versions
This article from early 2018 speaks to the power of FHIR and why everyone is scrambling to get in during the early stages of FHIR growth. Granted, FHIR is a little older now and making strides, but for beginners, it may seem young.
Key takeaways from “Health IT Is On FHIR: Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources for Beginners:”
- Excellent explanation of FHIR for beginners
- Outlines some of the potential of FHIR
- Good links for more reading
FHIR is something that could gain wider adoption soon, so understanding it is critical to many jobs. This article helps explain how to learn FHIR if your expertise falls outside development. This perspective is rare among the content focused on FHIR, which makes it a valuable tool.
Key takeaways from “How I Learned HL7 FHIR as a Clinician Without Losing My Mind:”
- Helps shed some light on the side of FHIR that isn’t technical
- Explains the training process the author followed
- Understand some of the basics of how FHIR works
10. Patient-Centered Radiology with FHIR: an Introduction to the Use of FHIR to Offer Radiology a Clinically Integrated Platform
This article looks at how FHIR might be used to help bridge gaps, specifically in radiology. The article is detailed and technical. It helps you see how FHIR might be used in real-world scenarios, plus it ends with a lot of excellent reference material to check out.
Key takeaways from “Patient-Centered Radiology with FHIR: an Introduction to the Use of FHIR to Offer Radiology a Clinically Integrated Platform:”
- A background on FHIR and its purpose
- Guide to setting up a test version
- Examples of metrics and screenshots of FHIR at work
11. Radiation Oncology Needs to Adopt a Comprehensive Standard for Data Transfer: The Case for HL7 FHIR
This article examines the need for a standard data transfer method in radiation oncology and makes a case for FHIR to take over as the standard. It’s behind a paywall, so you have to buy it outright or become a member.
Key takeaways from “Radiation Oncology Needs to Adopt a Comprehensive Standard for Data Transfer: The Case for HL7 FHIR:”
- Radiation oncology needs a better method of exchanging data with providers
- FHIR is the logical standard radiation oncology needs
- Underlines some alarming gaps in data access
You have to sign up to access this article, and the end result is a small marketing bit. However, the outline and insight you get from the article is worth the ten seconds you spend signing up. The guide can help you get started building a plan to develop FHIR apps or systems. The article is aimed at technology vendors, but the information may help providers as well.
Key takeaways from “FHIR Interoperability Guide:”
- You need to evolve and innovate
- FHIR helps you innovate without the need for complicated end-user training solutions
- If you’re not a vendor, talk to them about developing around FHIR
Like the article states, patients should always come first, and FHIR is one way to ensure every provider that sees a patient has the full picture of their health. Patients are also looking for ways to get involved with their healthcare and health-related decisions.
Key takeaways from “Why FHIR, APIs, and apps are the future of interoperability:”
- Patients want to get involved in their healthcare
- FHIR is the future of interoperability
- Skepticism may be the only thing holding FHIR back
Health IT Analytics examines how providers are facing challenges in the quest to make health data interoperability a functional reality, and how EHR vendors are setting their sights on FHIR.
Key takeaways from “Why Health Data Interoperability is Setting EHR Vendors on FHIR:”
- Many providers feel shortchanged by EHR vendors
- A lack of interoperability is at the root of most challenges
- Information blocking is a nuisance in the healthcare community
Podcasts Related to FHIR and Interoperability
Sponsored by Sansoro Health, the 4×4 Health Podcast is focused on healthcare IT. It covers everything from how AI is changing healthcare to the benefits of adopting FHIR. As of this writing, the 24 episodes online cover important topics worth listening to, and you can listen on your way to work, at the gym, or anywhere.
Three episodes we like from 4×4 Health Podcast:
- API 101 – FHIR: A Standard API for Healthcare
- API 101 – An Introduction to APIs
- Automating Healthcare with Artificial Intelligence
This podcast from Datica, formerly Catalyze, touches on every aspect of healthcare from an innovation and technology point of view. Whether you’re looking for FHIR information or a discussion on the latest trends in transforming healthcare, this podcast is an excellent place to start your search.
Three episodes we like from Healthcare Innovators Podcast:
- Charles Jaffe – Why Healthcare Should Expand its View of FHIR
- Dan Munro – Healthcare’s Technology Gamble
- Naomi Fried, Ph.D. – How Digital Health Companies Can Help Pharma Innovate Faster
The Cerner Podcast is a goldmine of healthcare technology information. The podcast is set up in short format where the participants discuss five questions and quit. That format keeps the podcast short enough that you can get in a full episode on your daily commute, but the topics get covered in depth, as well.
Three episodes we like from The Cerner Podcast:
- Health Intersections’ Grahame Grieve on FHIR Open Standards
- Cerner’s Kevin Shekleton on how Open Standards Foster Collaboration in Health IT
- UTH’s Dr. Robert Murphy on the Evolution of Applied Informatics in Health Care
The list of podcasts on this blog is short, but the podcasts come with a wealth of information about healthcare data and working with it. Episodes cover a range of topics from cloud services to managing data formats. It’s an excellent resource for anyone interested in FHIR and healthcare data technology.
Three episodes we like from Let’s Talk Integration:
- Round Table Discussion on FHIR
- Mike St. Jacques on Health Information Exchange
- Toni Skokovic on Managing Multiple Data Formats
EHR Intelligence has a limited list of podcasts, but the episode on “Putting Health IT Interoperability into Action at CommonWell” gives us an excellent overview of what it takes to make interoperability a priority and get it into play.
Key takeaways from “Putting Health IT Interoperability into Action at CommonWell:”
- Real world responses to the value of interoperability in IT
- FHIR was a critical part of the formula
- The quality of care improved almost immediately
This podcast from the education and advocacy group by the same name is run and owned by patients and members. You’re not hearing questions from technology experts or providers; you’re getting input and concerns from real patients iwhile learning about innovative ways to improve patient care and manage their data.
Three episodes we like from Patient Critical Podcast:
- Tim Blake’s on FHIR! Talking HIMSS & Digital Health
- Jesse Hirsh on Data Literacy
- Aidan Scott: Build Digital Health for Everyone
There's more! Read the next 25 FHIR resources in Part II.