HL7 Launches Joint Argonaut Project to Advance FHIR

This news should be of interest to all FHIR enthusiastic 🙂

HL7 is pleased to announce the launch of the Argonaut Project. This initiative will address the recommendations of the JASON Task Force, a joint task force of the HIT Standards and Policy Committees. The goal of the newly formed project is to accelerate the development and adoption of HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®). In addition to HL7, the Argonaut Project is comprised of the following organizations:

  • athenahealth
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Cerner
  • Epic
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • Mayo Clinic
  • McKesson
  • Partners HealthCare System
  • SMART at the Boston Children’s Hospital Informatics Program
  • The Advisory Board Company

“Our national health IT policy has always focused on the adoption of private sector-led standards,” noted Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. chief technology officer in the Obama Administration. “Today’s acceleration initiative draws on that collaborative spirit and will translate into better technologies to support better healthcare for patients and providers.”

HL7’s FHIR is a next generation standards framework that leverages the latest web standards and applies a tight focus on implementation. FHIR is a RESTful API, which is an approach based on modern internet conventions and widely used in other industries. FHIR represents a significant advance in accessing and delivering data while offering enormous flexibility. For patients and providers, its versatility can be applied to mobile devices, web-based applications, cloud communications, and EHR data-sharing using modular components.

HL7 CEO Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, noted the enthusiasm from the industry about the ease of use and implementation of FHIR. “FHIR is already being tested and implemented by leading organizations in the public, private and academic communities. We believe this will drive industry-wide adoption. If you make something useful, people will embrace it.”

The purpose of the Argonaut Project is to rapidly develop a first-generation FHIR-based API and Core Data Services specification to enable expanded information sharing for electronic health records and other health information technology based on Internet standards and architectural patterns and styles. The project will accelerate current FHIR development efforts to provide practical and focused FHIR profiles and implementation guides to the industry by the spring of 2015.

JASON Task Force Co-Chair Micky Tripathi, chief executive officer and president of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, has committed his organization to serve as the project manager for this initiative. He noted that it “Shows that private industry is now able to collectively and collaboratively play the lead role in rationalizing and modernizing nationwide healthcare interoperability, just as it has in other sectors of the economy.”

HIT Standards Committee Co-Chair and CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center John Halamka, MD, reaffirmed that HL7’s FHIR is interoperability’s future. “In 2014, there has been a perfect storm of alignment among government, industry, academia, provider organizations and innovators that FHIR is our best opportunity to accelerate interoperability. At this point in history we have an unprecedented opportunity to apply additional resources and focus, producing a simple, consensus-based implementation guide for query/response transactions in healthcare using the same type of technologies that Facebook, Google, and Amazon have already implemented at scale.” He then emphasized that “We are not creating a new organization to do this work; instead we are all unifying around HL7 as an ANSI-accredited standards development organization to deliver what we all need.”

Dr. Halamka posted an article on his blog with further details about the HL7 Argonaut Project. You can see his post here: http://geekdoctor.blogspot.com/2014/12/kindling-fhir.html 

For more information on HL7’s FHIR, please visit: www.HL7.org/FHIR.

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