Dr. Mark Braunstein
Datica Podcast

Dr. Mark Braunstein: Healthcare in the Age of Interoperability

November 15, 2016   FHIR Leadership HL7

Today Healthcare Innovators Podcast has a great conversation about “Healthcare in the Age of Interoperability” with Dr. Mark Braunstein, who teaches healthcare informatics at Georgia Tech. In this episode, Travis Good, MD finds out more about Braunstein and his work at the first US university to have a FHIR server for class work. Listeners will learn more about the FHIR-enabled projects that Georgia Tech master-level students are doing in conjunction with research physician clinicians in the Atlanta area.

We also prod Braunstein for his personal insight about what is missing in today’s medical education. Listeners can gain deeper insight into this area, by ordering Braunstein’s latest book “Practitioner’s Guide to Health Informatics.”

On the latest interest in health information exchange: “I’ve been in this field since 1970 and there have been “boomlets” around health information exchange. And they’ve all turned out to be just that – “boomlets.” I may live to eat these words, . . . but it really seems real this time.”

“I think Grahame Grieve’s genius, the author behind FHIR, was to recognize that, to use an expression: Perfect is the enemy of good. He is developing the standard according to a practical set of guidelines that quite intentionally isn’t going to lead to a standard that solves all problems, but will relatively lead to a standard that solves the most common use cases.”

On why FHIR is garnering academic interest: “By providing what might be a universal platform, the door is open to innovation. I developed a relatively unique approach to teaching health informatics at Georgia Tech. We’ve created our own FHIR server that stores quite a bit of synthetic or public data sets.”

“To me, that’s the most exciting thing about interoperability, at least as it creates an open, universal app platform. We’ve needed innovation in this field for a long, long time. I should also mention the fact that it is all based on widely used web technologies. That makes it very attractive to young people.”

On patient-generated data and FHIR: “I think in time, those data streams are all going to be based in FHIR, but that remains to be seen.”

“Why can’t a blood pressure cuff emit the appropriate FHIR observation resource? Why can’t a glucometer do the same for glucose levels? I think we are going to get to that in time, although it is going to take time.”

After listening to today’s podcast, you may want to learn more about FHIR from the Catalyze site, then check out Dr. Braunstein’s lectures on Udacity, or Coursera.

Today's Guest

Dr. Mark Braunstein
Dr. Mark Braunstein

Professor of Health Informatics, Georgia Tech University

Dr. Braunstein teaches health informatics at Georgia Tech.

He has written three books: Practitioners Guide to Health Informatics, a guide to health informatics for physicians and other non-technical readers (published 2015); Contemporary Health Informatics (published spring 2014); and Health Informatics in the Cloud, a brief guide to health informatics for non-technical readers (published 2012). Prior to joining Georgia Tech in 2007, he founded several successful health IT companies. Before that, he was on the faculty of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) where he developed one of the first functional ambulatory electronic medical record system.

He earned a BS degree from MIT in 1969, an MD degree from MUSC in 1974 and completed an internship in internal medicine at Washington University in 1975.

Our Interviewer

Travis Good, MD
Travis Good, MD

Datica Alumni — Former Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer

As CTO, Travis leads Datica’s engineering team. His background in compliance, security, and cloud infrastructure gives him technical expertise that, when paired with his experiences as an MD, allows for a unique view on the challenges of healthcare.