Regenstrief aims for interoperability with new method of compiling data

Healthcare interoperability is a goal all health organizations strive to achieve, yet some never do. At the Regenstrief Center for Biomedical Informatics, staff are hoping to ease the process of acheiving interoperability by testing the newly developed method of compiling health data into a single healthcare information system known the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Standard (FHIR).

FHIR will take data from individual electronic medical records with the data stored on the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC), to make a single information system. "What we are working on is a first and could have a huge impact on patients whose health information is distributed across multiple electronic systems -- probably the vast majority of the people in the United States," said Titus Schleyer, DMD, PhD, a Regenstrief Institute investigator and Clem McDonald Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Indiana University School of Medicine. "Using FHIR, we can combine information about a specific patient stored in systems developed by different vendors and installed in different healthcare institutions. This brings us much closer to a ‘lingua franca’ for health information, so clinicians finally have complete information available about their patients."

"For example, imagine that you as a patient can use an app on your smart phone to reconcile the multiple lists of medications maintained by several care providers into one authoritative, current list. And then, you can bring that list to your colonoscopy screening appointment for review by your physician prior to the procedure. That is huge, which is why the federal government is also focusing attention on helping patients do that," emphasized Dr. Schleyer. "FHIR helps us create a secure, complete, accessible, and useful set of health information needed by clinicians and patients."