Epro on FHIR

We recently hosted the second HL7 UK FHIR Hack Day and two of our Epro developers took part in it.

It seemed like everyone learned a lot about FHIR and Bluewire made good progress towards implementing a FHIR interface for Epro. On the day we implemented a FHIR service providing a list of patients, and patient demographics querying. We also created a basic FHIR document service which is able to provide metadata about the letters and discharge summaries in Epro. The hack day environment really helped everyone get to grips with FHIR in a short space of time – we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this much independently.

Attendees hosted their FHIR services throughout the event. Bluewire managed to connect to FHIR patient services being hosted by Medical Connections, and the FHIR client being hosted by Kainos. People also made successful connections to our newly implemented FHIR services. Rik Smithies (chairing) ran his validator tools over the output from our services, and we worked together to make sure our output was compliant with the specification.

Lunch provided a great opportunity to network and find out what other developers think of FHIR and how they plan to use it.

Some interesting discussion points which came up on the day were:

  • The FHIR search API doesn’t explicitly say that when combining multiple search terms, the search operation should find records matching all of the search terms. Should the specification say this? Perhaps OR search queries should also be supported?
  • It might be useful to have a ‘quick start’ guide detailing the bare minimum required to create a compliant interface (e.g. patients), to help developers get started.
  • Whether FHIR might be a useful tool to provide lightweight services for document exchange.

Thanks to Rik Smithies for chairing the event!

Dr. Adam Towler, 26.04.2012 | Dr. Adam Towler, FHIR, HL7