FHIR compliance - does this affect your healthcare business?

FHIR, or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, is a standard for electronically exchanging any form of healthcare. In recent years, healthcare practices have begun digitizing their records, and there has been a massive growth in the number of businesses using EHR systems.

Free forever •  No credit card required  •  Access all features
Best Clinical Notes
Benefits of FHIR

Healthcare Compliance you and your clients can trust

Clinical appointment scheduling
Online Scheduling

Take control of your schedule and calendar from your desktop or mobile app. Use automated appointment reminders and our fully integrated video calling tool to maximize your productivity.

Clinical Notes and Clinical Documentation
Health Records

Store all your patient information, clinical notes, and documentation safely in your secure clinic system. We autosave, so you'll never lose work again.

Clinical billing and Clinical online payments
Accept Payments Online

Carepatron online or mobile payments make it easier for your clients to pay for your bills.  You save time a massive amount of time while getting paid twice as fast. What a great way to improve your day and cashflow!

What is FHIR and why is it important?

What is FHIR and why is it important?

FHIR, or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, is a standard for exchanging any form of healthcare electronically. In recent years, healthcare practices have begun digitizing their records, and there has been a massive growth in the number of businesses using EHR systems. In fact, it was reported that as of 2017, 86% of in-office physicians were utilizing some form of EHR. Any changes regarding healthcare information will lead to the formation of new medical compliance guidelines. FHIR provides guidelines related to this, that have been informed by challenges observed in past situations. Ensuring the correct transference of healthcare information onto an electronic platform is of utmost importance. Not only do these records have to be accessible and organized, but they also need to follow medical compliance guidelines, to protect patient privacy. The main aim of FHIR is to simplify the implementation process of digitizing healthcare information and improve the interoperability of data. It does this by building a set of resources that allow immediate access to data regardless of the specific operating system used. FHIR is an innovative solution to keep up with technology advancements and improve the overall interoperability of EHR systems.

How is FHIR used?

Most patients will be under the care of several healthcare providers at some point during their treatment process. Transferring patients between departments and facilities requires effective communication and good continuity of care. As many practices currently use EHR systems, typically clinical documentation and patient records are stored electronically. FHIR aims to increase the interoperability between different EHR systems used by healthcare practices so that continuity of care can be optimized. FHIR produces a set of resources that together compose a healthcare statement that includes clinical information and services. This composition is called a document, which can be transmitted between different systems. 

The use of FHIR is not in full swing yet, but it is looking promising in regard to interoperability improvement. Currently, most practices that have implemented FHIR are using it to increase the functionality of their pre-existing EHR systems and give patients the ability to access and view their own medical records. Although FHIR may seem like a confusing and sophisticated technology, in practice it is fairly simple. It has been designed for web-based use and can be applied to any EHR that has FHIR capabilities. This means that regardless of whether you use a mobile app, cloud-based software, or EHR data sharing, FHIR will be able to improve your interoperability.

How is FHIR used?
Role of FHIR in interoperability

Role of FHIR in interoperability

FHIR has been created to resemble a system similar to how URL functions. The resources have their own unique tag that serves as an identifier. A collection of resources becomes a document that users can have access to via unique identifiers. That way, instead of passing specific healthcare documents back and forth between providers and patients, all authorized users can have immediate access to the same resource. To consolidate your understanding of the role that FHIR plays in interoperability, we have collated some of the most important current applications of FHIR and how it offers an exciting new solution:

  • Current FHIR applications: FHIR is still being developed, but that hasn’t prevented a wide range of healthcare companies from engaging with the new standard. Applications of FHIR have largely looked at how patient engagement can be increased and how clinical decision-making can be supported. Further, there has been a significant amount of time and resources poured into the development of FHIR apps that allow data to be transferred seamlessly between separate systems.
  • How is FHIR different from other methods of improving interoperability? Most other attempts at interoperability improvement involve transmitting static documents. Although these methods allow for a significant amount of information to be transferred between providers, they don’t necessarily allow coordination between distinct systems. Conversely, FHIR moves away from document-based exchanges of information and aims to synthesize the functions of separate systems.
  • Patient use: Interoperable systems have distinct advantages for patients as well as providers. If a patient is being treated or seen by a number of healthcare providers, they will no longer have to log onto different patient portals to access their records and medical information. Instead, FHIR facilitates a single, comprehensive document that contains all relevant information from each provider.

Practical uses for the FHIR service in healthcare

So what exactly are the practical uses of the FHIR service in healthcare? We have developed a list of just some of the most useful applications of FHIR within the healthcare industry: 

  • Standardize data: Most healthcare practices use EHR as their main system for organizing and storing patient information. However, these are often accompanied by multiple separate databases that function to organize various forms of information. With FHIR, these databases can be synthesized in order to construct standardized data that can then be transferred between providers in a consistent format.
  • Transferring data: As well as organizing the formatting of data, FHIR assists the actual process of exchanging information. By generating audit logs and customizable access controls, FHIR can better manage the exchange of data and who has access to certain records. 
  • Unifies patient records: As mentioned previously, FHIR will unify patient records regardless of how many providers they see. This will mean they no longer have to access various patient portals to view health updates, facilitating a greater sense of control over self-management.
  • Opening information systems: In recent years, a greater number of private practices have been merging with each other. This allows them to maintain some of their independence and range of services, particularly as the healthcare industry becomes increasingly competitive. However, issues regarding EMR systems are likely to occur following these merges. If the two businesses had successfully implemented different EMR systems into their practices, the question arises about how this information can be effectively shared. Vendors are unlikely to simply concede to each other, which can lead to a lengthy and difficult process. On the other hand, if the data is put into an FHIR format and uploaded onto an FHIR server, then each party can consume the other’s information. 

Conclusion

The development of the FHIR standard is an exciting advancement for practices looking to improve the interoperability of their databases. Using electronic platforms to store data is undoubtedly beneficial for healthcare businesses, however, the necessary process of transferring data is made significantly more complicated when these systems are opposing. With FHIR, data can be organized and transferred between systems, creating a unified platform on which all information is stored. The development of the technology is still in its early stages, but applications by various providers and servers look extremely promising!

Further Reading:

Practical uses for the FHIR service in healthcare

Join 10,000+ Healthcare Professionals using Carepatron to be more productive.

The All-In-One Practice Management Software for Healthcare.

Get Paid Faster With Effective Therapy Billing Software
6 common compliance mistakes healthcare businesses have made - and how you can avoid them
Healthcare compliance refers to sticking to explicit rules, regulations, policies and guidelines relating to medical care. They allow healthcare services to be delivered securely and privately, as well as ethical and legal guidelines to be outlined for businesses to observe and comply with. Medical care manages a lot of private data, and thus, there is an abundance of rules you need to be acquainted with to remain compliant.
Common Psychologists mistakes
Nominating a medical compliance officer within a private healthcare business
Working in the healthcare industry, you have probably heard the term compliance thrown around a lot. But you may be wondering what it exactly means. Healthcare compliance refers to the adherence to a set of rules and regulations pertaining to how healthcare professionals should interact with patients and handle sensitive data. Compliance standards are generated by federal and state law, in addition to the internal policies adopted by individual healthcare practices. Knowing how compliance regulations impact the way that you work is a critical aspect of working as a healthcare practitioner.
Starting a Psychology Private Practice
Nominating a medical compliance officer within a private healthcare business
Working in the healthcare industry, you have probably heard the term compliance thrown around a lot. But you may be wondering what it exactly means. Healthcare compliance refers to the adherence to a set of rules and regulations pertaining to how healthcare professionals should interact with patients and handle sensitive data. Compliance standards are generated by federal and state law, in addition to the internal policies adopted by individual healthcare practices. Knowing how compliance regulations impact the way that you work is a critical aspect of working as a healthcare practitioner.