I had the pleasure of attending the FHIR North Education and Connectathon event held at Mohawk College on April 26.  Given the requests I’ve received for my thoughts on the event and FHIR itself, I thought I’d share them with others:

#1. There's a lot of interest FHIR. 238 people registered for the event.   That’s on par with the numbers we would see in the US and they have 10 times our population and are way head of Canada in terms of FHIR implementations. 

#2.  There’s a ton of innovation that’s related to FHIR. One of the things that sets it apart from other standards is the community and ecosystem around it.  I saw demonstrations of automated testing tools to help developers test their code, which used gamification of error results to entice developers to fix their code to reduce errors.  I was also blown away by the presentations on how vendors and large healthcare systems in the US are using the SMART on FHIR API to deploy patient and provider facing apps that can work in different vendors’ products, as well a presentation on Sync for Science , that uses similar technical approaches to allow clinicians to easily share patient data for research - with patient consent of course. 

#3. Ontario is doing a lot with FHIR.  The FHIR Connectathon featured FHIR end points representing the Ontario Lab Information System, Digital Health Drug Repository, Digital Health Immunization Repository, Health Report Manager, and others.  There were also presentations from the Ontario Ministry of Health on their use of terminology standards in FHIR.

#4.  While there's obviously a lot of interest in FHIR, it also creates challenges for individuals and organizations.  People are trying to figure out how and when to invest in FHIR.  They are trying to separate the messages of the passionate promoters with their lessons learned and pain points from the past from other interoperability initiatives.

This struggle will be the focus of the Gevity sponsored symposium titled “The Rise of FHIR: Strategies for Dealing with Disruption”, which will be held on Tuesday, June 6 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM in conjunction with the eHealth Conference.  The symposium will include a panel discussion from public and private sector participants who have been dealing with these tensions.  Click here to RSVP.