Training courses provide a fast track to FHIR

Training provider eHealth & HL7 Education Partners has launched Australia's first courses in evaluating and implementing the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standard, which has been described as a 'paradigm shift' in connecting healthcare IT systems.

The first one-day course will be held in Brisbane next month and will be taught by health informatician Brett Esler, who has built his own independent middleware platform called Hiasobi that uses FHIR to allow easy integration of apps to general practice management systems such as MedicalDirector and Best Practice.

FHIR was first developed by Australian healthcare interoperability pioneer Grahame Grieve, who was frustrated by the shortcomings of existing methods to often painstakingly interconnect healthcare systems.

Mr Grieve has taken modern internet technologies such as XML, HTTP, REST, JSON, openID and OAuth2 and combined them with the most successful features of the existing healthcare standards HL7 version 2, v3 and CDA to develop a new standard that many believe will allow interoperability to happen faster, easier and cheaper.

FHIR has gone from concept to a full-blown published draft standard (DSTU) with implementations by over 70 organisations in 20 countries in just two and a half years.

eHealth & HL7 Education Partners managing partner Klaus Veil said the new course would take Australian healthcare connectivity to the next level.

Mr Veil, also an adjunct associate professor at the University of Western Sydney and recently re-elected president of the Australasian College of Health Informatics, said his team was inspired to develop the course when recently attending an HL7 FHIR update session in Brisbane.

“We have helped well over 400 people in the Australasian region build their health informatics and eHealth integration skills, but FHIR is now rapidly moving into the implementation phase,” Mr Veil said. “It is time to actively support these efforts with focused FHIR implementation training.”

Course participants will be introduced to the FHIR specifications, learn how to evaluate FHIR for their organisation and experience hands-on how simple implementing FHIR is, Mr Veil said.

"FHIR is a refreshing break from other standards that require 'insider' technology and tooling that are only found in healthcare. FHIR enables even young IT graduates to easily implement connections between healthcare systems.

“And if you have followed the recent media reports about the low uptake of our national electronic health record, the PCEHR, due to the lack of meaningful data content, then FHIR looks like what is needed.”

Mr Esler said he had been watching the development of FHIR very closely since he first heard Mr Grieve propose taking a 'fresh look' at interoperability in 2012, with the first public review of FHIR held in September 2012.

HL7 International then published the first FHIR interim standard in February 2014 and is now working on publishing the second, updated interim standard.

“We should not forget that FHIR is a global standard, so all the FHIR implementations we do here in Australia will allow us to interface with systems around the world,” Mr Esler said.

FHIR is already being used on both large and modest scales both here and internationally. Orion Health added FHIR support to its Rhapsody integration engine earlier this year and Australian firm HealthConnex, part of Tesltra Health, is just about to launch a new version of its The Care Manager (TCM) community care software package using FHIR to allow data exchange between TCM and Telstra's MyCareManager telehealth solution.

Orion Health's product strategist David Hay recently predicted in a white paper that FHIR was likely to become like the internet of healthcare – ubiquitous, largely invisible but 'just there'.

“No one questions the use of the Internet and the standards that support it ...” Dr Hay wrote. “It seems probable that this could be FHIR’s future also – as the 'lingua franca' of healthcare data exchange."

Mr Grieve said he had been concerned for some time about FHIR's rapid growth and how it would continue to be supported, so he was pleased to see training courses starting up.

“The further development and implementation of FHIR very much relies on a strong community supporting it, but I am not sure if we can grow the community for FHIR developers and implementers quickly enough,” Mr Grieve said.

“I myself am spending more and more time on US-based projects, which are now increasingly getting funded, so I am quite glad that local implementer training is now happening.

"When a new technology becomes popular, it is important to have good quality training. I have worked with [Mr Esler] on a number of FHIR projects and his implementation knowledge is one of the best in the country.”

The FHIR Evaluation and Implementation Fast-track courses will be held in:

  • Brisbane – August 13
  • Melbourne – September 16
  • Sydney – October 14
  • Hobart – November 4

Mr Veil said two-day intensive implementation courses that build on the fast-track courses are in development.

Registrations are open now.

Posted in Australian eHealth


0 # Terry Hannan 2015-07-16 14:07
Having been associated with one of the largest ehealth projects in developing nations the accelerated emergence and acceptance of Grahame Grieve's work into that project and others NECESSITATES major and continuing support for his outstanding contribution to eHealth/HIT. Grahame has moved the goal posts in interoperabilit y and the use of existing standards.
0 # Elizabeth Matusov 2015-07-17 09:44
This is so awesome! I just started working for LogiCoy Inc, and they've just begun providing a really affordable SMART on FHIR gateway - its SO cool to see just how useful this is for the Health IT world. Awesome that they're providing training now too!

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