Knowledge base


What is HL7® FHIR®?

HL7 FHIR® (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) is a next generation standards framework, applying focus on implementability. It combines the best features of HL7’s Version 2, Version 3 and CDA. The main part of FHIR is definition of the set of components called “Resources” which refer to wide variety of clinical concepts covering problems, medications, diagnositics, care plans, financial concerns and administrative concepts like patient, provider, organization and device.

FHIR is also designed having flexibility in mind. A simple framework is defined for extending and adapting existing resources. Extensions and extension definitions can be retrieved in the same manner as retrievieng other resources.

As far as interoperability is concerned each resource carries a human-readable text representation in a form of html markup as a fallback display option for clinical safety.

The most important features of HL7 FHIR are:

  • Fast and easy to implement (simple interfaces can be developed in a single day)
  • Reference implementations for popular programming environments
  • Specification is free to use with no restrictions
  • Strong foundation in Web standards – XML, JSON, HTTP, Atom and OAuth
  • Interoperability through well-defined collection of resources
  • Solid ontology-based analysis with rigorous formal mapping for correctness
  • Full compliance with RESTful architectures

HL7 FHIR is the newest of the common standards enabling interoperable exchange of clinical data and is getting popular pretty fast. However it should not be treated as competitor to HL7 CDA standard of clinical document. Both standards have different scopes of use and coexist very well.

Lot of effort is done by developers around the globe to try FHIR in action and prove its implementability. Events such as FHIR Connectathones are great occasions to verify software interoperability using FHIR and to learn more about specifications and problems, which other are facing. It is also opportunity to polish and improve the standard itself.

Currently FHIR is published as Draft Standard for Trial Use (DSTU2).

If you are interested in FHIR training please see our offer – Basic Course on HL7® FHIR®