Cerner announced that it has embraced the latest version of HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard to encourage third-party developers to build apps on top of its platforms. Adopting FHIR Release 4, the normative version of the interoperability standard, Cerner contends that it is positioned at the “leading edge” in creating healthcare apps and opening its application programming interfaces (APIs) to developers to foster innovation.
“We’ve invested in R4 in a significant way as part of our broader strategy at Cerner around advancing interoperability as well as enhancing our ability to facilitate third-party provider, clinical apps and consumer apps integration into our platforms. It’s extremely important to get to that normative standard.”
Matt Obenhaus, Cerner Open Developer Experience
Embracing R4 confirms the maturity and stability of the FHIR standard for developers. Cerner’s Millennium electronic health record and HealtheIntent population health platforms now have placed an ‘Open for Business’ sign to API developers.
“I think it is good for the whole healthcare IT ecosystem to have strong support for open standards-based APIs and services. I hope other healthcare software developers will follow suit. It will lead to the ability to share applications and knowledge in a way that will improve the care we provide for patients, and decrease the cost of software, while improving usability.”
Dr. Stan Huff, CMIO Intermountain Healthcare
Cerner has released a couple of APIs based on R4, according to Obenhaus, adding that “much of our 2019 development roadmap will be continuing to develop additional APIs on the R4 standard.”
And now the rub.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in February released a proposed rule requiring FHIR as the standard to which developers must certify their APIs under the ONC Health IT Certification Program. The proposal seeks to make FHIR Release 2 a requirement.
“The overwhelming consensus of the industry is that these rules should be based on the latest balloted version, which is FHIR R4.”
The question of R4 as opposed to R2 needs to be addressed. Quickly.
“For many of us, the pace at which our partners in both the private and public sectors have embraced HL7 FHIR has been remarkable. As other segments of the diverse community embrace R4, we will move closer to interoperability, and our patients will be the beneficiaries.”
Dr. Chuck Jaffe, HL7 CEO