Getting started with FHIR

HL7 FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources); is a next-generation interoperability standard from the standards development organization Health Level 7 (HL7).

FHIR evolved out of the desire to shift healthcare IT towards modern API driven approaches making healthcare development more accessible to mobile and web developers everywhere.

Whilst interoperability - or promoting data exchange - is the primary goal of FHIR, its design offers many benefits especially for digital health solutions:

  • A common data model for building healthcare applications: FHIR Resources represent individual units of clinical and administrative information that are used to define the data model for a healthcare application.
  • Open specification and free to use: The FHIR specification is open meaning that anyone can get involved in the balloting process. In addition it's free to use for any application anywhere.
  • Based on familiar technologies: FHIR is a specification and an open standardized web API that is based on established web standards like REST, OAuth, XML, JSON and HTTP.
  • Promotes reusability of content: FHIR Resources that define the logical models, data dictionaries and coding systems for a specific application can be shared and reused. This promotes more consistent data collection across similar programs as well as dissemination of evidence based guidelines such as the WHO SMART Guidelines.

If you are new to FHIR or just looking to learn more, here is a selection of resources that can help you get up to speed quickly.