Datica Podcast

November 15, 2016

Dr. Mark Braunstein: Healthcare in the Age of Interoperability

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.