- Nearly a third of health IT developers preparing to meet 2015 Edition EHR certification requirements are using the Fast Health Interoperability Resources standard, specifically FHIR Release 2, a new report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology finds.
- More than half (51%) of health IT developers are using FHIR combined with OAuth 2.0, the industry standard for authorization, ONC said.
- Apple is an early champion of the FHIR Release 2, with a FHIR-based client app, but other large tech companies are also making the shift to the new standard, according to the report.
FHIR is a key metric for interoperability and meeting overall connectivity goals. CMS has set a 2019 deadline for providers to update their EHRs to 2015 certification. During HIMSS18, CMS Administrator Seema Verma warned that the days of data blocking are over and the industry must move to open APIs to ensure data sharing.
The 32% of health IT developers using FHIR may not seem like a lot, but about 82% of hospitals and 64% of clinicians use 10 vendors that offer FHIR version EHRs, according to the report. Epic has the highest overall customer use rate, with 21% of hospital clients and 27% of clinicians reporting use of certified products. Cerner also has 21% of hospitals reporting the new version, but fewer clinicians.
Overall, 87% of hospitals and 69% of Merit-Based Payment Incentive System-eligible clinicians use health IT developers that certify their products to some FHIR version.
But while HHS and ONC have promoted the need for interoperability in healthcare, a recent report from the Office of the Chief Technology Officer shows how difficult that can be, not just for disparate organizations like hospitals and health systems, but also for agencies within HHS.
Among the challenges are the lack of data governance and sharing standards at the departmental level, lack of accountability for timely response to requests and siloing of information within agencies, which makes it hard to access data in an efficient way. Also hampering interoperability is that some agency programs still don't share data in multiple machine-readable formats, that report found.
Hospitals and providers will face similar roadblocks in getting to full interoperability.
"While these data are encouraging, it's not time to pop any champagne," ONC says. "Industry-wide, much work remains from standards development to implementation."
The report encourages health IT developers that are building and piloting products and services with FHIR to work with the standards community and the Interoperability Proving Ground.