FHIR-Based Transactions Improve Data Quality for Effective Healthcare Solutions

By Scott Afzal, President, Audacious Inquiry LLC
Twitter: @A_INQ

On April 7, 2022, I had the pleasure of speaking with CommonWell Health Alliance to discuss the future of HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR)-based transactions. It was a privilege to discuss how the Audacious Inquiry partnership with FHIR has enacted tangible change in the real world.

Below are three key takeaways from my conversation with CommonWell Health Alliance about FHIR-based transactions, and I invite you to watch our full conversation here.

1. The ignition of FHIR-based transactions

The adoption of FHIR-based transactions to existing document-based exchanges facilitates more effective solutions to clinical and business problems which makes growth in this area so exciting. However, it is important to remain practical with timelines and expectations.

I believe we’ll hit the tipping point in healthcare when both the type and the quantity of FHIR endpoints become more readily available including endpoint directories and identity services. These types of value-added services are incredibly important to support the acceleration of FHIR in healthcare.

CommonWell’s progress on FHIR brings us all closer to enabling discrete use cases and exchange within consumer applications and use cases to support provider-to-provider and care-to-provider exchange.

2. Data quality is our invaluable foundation and enables the ability to bridge inequity gaps

Having quality healthcare data is at the root of everything we do–without it, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our goals. Inaccurate or non-uniform data creates issues spanning from a lack of insight and ability to serve a specific clinical need to creating real patient safety risks. And data quality shortcomings inhibit our industry’s ability to make significant progress towards solving health inequity challenges.

For example, if we can’t accurately code race, ethnicity, or address information, then we can’t effectively evaluate health disparities or inequities using those clinical data sets.

3. Access to clinical data during disasters demonstrates proven use case for managing at-risk populations

Both natural and man-made disasters are occurring in record-breaking numbers. And healthcare delivery doesn’t stop during a disaster. From wildfires in California to hurricanes in the Southeast, disasters displace millions of people and bring day-to-day life to a standstill. Even though state governments continually work towards preparedness, disasters leave them feeling unequipped to manage the safety and the location of their at-risk populations.

Through a partnership between Audacious Inquiry and CommonWell Health Alliance, healthcare providers in disaster settings broadcast queries to other national networks to find relevant clinical data on people dispersed to shelters or other types of alternate care facilities. Once data is connected to displaced persons, the appropriate clinical care can be coordinated and delivered.

The system has been used during disasters in California, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana with life-saving outcomes. As we prepare for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, clinical data access networks become a lifeline between people needing treatment (like kidney dialysis patients) and community disaster teams.

Each of these scenarios above were discussed with CommonWell during our recent interview. They represent the innovation possible when healthcare gets core infrastructure right. Click here to catch the full interview with CommonWell Health Alliance.

This article was originally published on the Audacious Inquiry blog and is republished here with permission.