Elkridge, MD, July 19, 2021 – In a series of recent letters to State Health Officials, the Centers...
Making the World a Better Place Through Healthcare Data Interoperability
My journey to Become HL7 Certified
Achieving true healthcare interoperability across the care continuum is a top priority for providers, payers, and other key industry stakeholders. Seamless, comprehensive data sharing is particularly important for healthcare organizations looking to earn incentive payments through the CMS Promoting Interoperability (PI) Program. The adoption and use of health data standards form the basis for enabling interoperability across organizations and between electronic health record (EHR) systems.
To solve for the greater good, NewWave has been actively contributing towards healthcare interoperability solutions for which a qualified team dedicated to solving today’s interoperability challenges with specialized knowledge and skills is necessary. The healthcare information technology industry is complex and in need of people who can work on these complex problems for the greater cause.
I was amazed by this great cause and decided to be part of the same. My journey started with learning about the latest standard for exchanging healthcare information electronically based on current and emerging industry approaches. I continued this journey by enrolling into self-paced HL7 Fundamentals learning course. HL7 International is at the intersection of healthcare, engineering, and Information Technology (IT)
The self-paced course provided me with immense knowledge on HL7 V2, V3 standards. The course also provided training with UML and XML which forms the backbone for FHIR standards to contribute towards solving the most challenging problems and is ideal for every developer, engineer or advocate new to HL7 and its family of standards, including Version 2 (V2), Clinical Document Architecture (CDA®) and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®). The 12-week workshop used a set of guided exercises to learn by practice and example which allowed me to demonstrate the understanding of the fundamental concepts of FHIR and their proficiency with the FHIR standard specification.
The HL7 Certification Exam is designed for technical professional, who work on a day-to-day basis to solve the data interoperability issues. The tests are designed to ensure the understanding of important principles of the standard so that it’s used successfully. HL7 certification indicates to stakeholders that the individuals have the industry-recognized levels of proficiency and expertise.
HL7 FHIR combines the best features of HL7 V2, HL7 V3, and CDA, while leveraging the latest web service technologies. FHIR is based on modular components called “resources.” and these resources can be combined to solve clinical and administrative problems in a practical way.
Resources are small, logically discrete units of exchange. Resources define behavior and meaning, have a known identity and location, are the smallest possible unit of transaction, and provide meaningful data that is of interest to healthcare. The resources can be extended and adapted to provide a more manageable solution to the healthcare demand for optionality and customization.
HL7 FHIR supports four interoperability paradigms, which are distinct ways of utilizing FHIR to best accommodate varying workflows. The four paradigms and when they might be used are:
- REST: Small, light-weight exchanges with low coupling between systems
- Messages: Communicate multiple resources in a single exchange
- Documents: Focus is on persistence when data spans multiple resources
- Services: Use a custom service when capabilities of other paradigms don’t fit requirement
Where might HL7 FHIR be used?
HL7 FHIR has the capability to be used in a variety of workflows, from small mobile devices to large multi-facility hospital information systems. FHIR not only enables new workflows, such as those related to patient engagement, but also more traditional communications between applications. Common workflows include:
- Traditional application-to-application interoperability within the four walls
- External connectivity
- HIEs / ACOs
- National exchanges
- Social web
- Mobile applications
- Home health devices
- Social Determinant of Health (SDOH)
If you are also passionate about revolutionizing healthcare technology – and you want to stand out from the crowd – you need to join me and become HL7 certified.